Is washing fruits and vegetables important components of a healthy diet? Many of us have questioned how these foods should be prepared. The short answer: Yes!
For fruits and vegetables that have a skin, the FDA suggests washing them in water before you peel them. Using a clean scrub brush has been shown to remove 85% of bacteria from fruits and vegetables. Spraying your vegetables with dilute vinegar before washing them in cold water is even more effective; this process can remove 98% of bacteria.
Although E. coli isn’t normally found in soil, trace amounts of animal droppings, along with Salmonella and Norovirus can be present on fruits and vegetables. Most healthy people can handle this; however, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, should take extra precautions.
Vinegar Bleach or Wash
I read several articles on making a vinegar and water solution, as opposed to just rinsing with water. 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar is the safest. You can keep a premixed solution in a bottle near to your sink for easy access.
As you may know, I make the Hello and Goodbye Masks by hand. I work with the sprouts and vegetables that create the botanical extracts that make them so special. Farmers have recommended that I soak my seeds in a solution of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water to rid them of any contamination. This combo has always made me a bit nervous, but why?
Bleach at this concentration — 1 tablespoon per gallon — is technically safe for washing or consumption; however, many bleaches contain additional cleaning agents, such as phosphorous, that are unsafe for consumption. Furthermore, using too much bleach is highly toxic. This is why the FDA recommends against using it for cleaning fresh fruits and vegetables. Soaps and other detergents should also be avoided as they can leave potentially harmful residues.
Washing My Fruits and Vegetables
After researching this topic, I’m making some changes in my kitchen. I’ll start by using a scrub brush on my fruits and veggies under running water. Then I’ll soak them in the vinegar solution for a couple of minutes, rinse and dry. Phew, mystery solved!