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The Very Best Way to Clean Fruits and Vegetables Revealed

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The Very Best Way to Clean Fruits and Vegetables Revealed

When it comes to cleaning your fruits and vegetables, do you ask yourself these questions: Do I use soap? Do I wash before I refrigerate? Do I rewash prewashed food?

It all seems very confusing. What we all agree upon is that fresh fruits and vegetables do get contaminated from the soil, rainwater, inadequate cleaning of equipment and improper handling from the farm to your table and produce does need to be cleaned.

In most cases, just washing your produce will be enough to remove surface contamination and get rid of the dirt and pesticide residues.

However, knowing what, when and how to wash can help decrease risk, which is especially important when preparing food for young children, older adults and anyone with compromised immunity.

Keep these tips in mind when cleaning your produce:

  1. Start with a clean kitchen which includes work surface areas, colanders, cutting boards, knives and sink.
  2. Make sure you wash your hands well before touching your produce.
  3. Rinse produce under cold running water to remove soil and dirt. For some produce like potatoes, carrots and cucumbers, use a vegetable brush to get in the grooves or what might be sticking to a waxy coating. For softer produce like tomatoes or peaches, gently rub with your hands under running water. Blot dry with a clean paper towel.
  4. Wash the rind of the melon before cutting to prevent any bacteria on the surface from being transferred to the inside when cutting the melon.
  5. Wash fruits with skins or rinds that you plan to peel or cut, like bananas and mangos.
  6. Discard the outer leaves of lettuce. Rinse leaves in the interior and use a salad spinner to dry. To wash spinach, immerse in a large pot of cool water. After a couple of minutes lift out the leaves, rinse in a colander and spin dry.
  7. Clean berries in a colander. First remove any stems or leaves and rinse or spray with cool water shaking them gently. Blot dry with a paper towel.
  8. Wash herbs by dipping and swishing them in a bowl of water and blotting dry with a paper towel.
  9. Wash fruits and vegetables right before you eat them. If you wash them before storing in the refrigerator, you will promote growth of mold and bacteria.
  10. Do not use soap or detergents. They can leave residues that affect the taste and may not be safe. Special produce washes are expensive and have not been proven to be more effective than washing with water.
  11. The FDA states that there is no need to rewash prewashed salad greens.
  12. Organic produce must be washed the same way as conventionally grown produce.

Now that you know how to clean your fruits and vegetables properly, you can enjoy them worry-free! Strive for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day to continue a healthy, Cooperized lifestyle.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, click here or call 972.560.2655. 

Article provided by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.