I never used to worry too much about washing my fruit and vegetables thoroughly myself, just a quick rinse under water and a polish on my shirt is all the care I would give to my apple before munching on it.
Then, I learned about the risks of consuming pesticides that are used on common fruit and vegetables that I regularly buy and eat. So I decided to buy organic where I could, and grow my own green leafy vegetables. But it seems that even organic produce, although is spray-free, can also contain some dangerous bacteria such as e.coli, which in some cases has killed people.
Bottom line is, no matter what fruit and veg you buy, you need to wash it.
Rinsing under water does remove 70-80% of pesticides. Yet this may not be good enough when you are giving the fruit to a young child with a immature nervous system; some toxins used can have a cumulative effect. For this reason it is recommended that you thoroughly wash before you eat a varied fresh seasonal diet, to get around this problem.
A better way to remove significantly more pesticides and bacteria is to use a very common household ingredient: vinegar.
Here are two simple ways to use vinegar to make your fruit and vegetables clean and safe for eating.
When I get home from the market, I like to wash all my vegetables in the sink at once as it saves time, and I know the job’s been done for the week.
This video explains how to make a vinegar soak, which cleans off any residue and pesticides. Soaking makes sure even the cracks and crannies are sterilized.
- Simply half-fill your sink with cool water.
- Pour in half cup of white vinegar.
- Place your vegetables or fruit into the water to soak for 10- 20 minutes.
- Give the surface of tougher veggies and fruit a little scrub, such as carrots, apples, and celery.
- Rinse the vegetables and fruit with cool running water; they are now ready to prepare.
DIY fruit and veg spray
I like to use the fruit and vegetable spray when I reach for a piece of fruit that has not yet been washed. Instead of soaking it, I quickly spray the fruit and then rinse under running water, it’s quick and easy.
This spray also contains vinegar, so it is effective for removing pesticides and bacteria that may be lurking on the surface of your produce.
If your fruit or veg has a tougher skin, say an apple or a zucchini, you can give it a more vigorous clean using your scrubber after spraying.
- Mix 1/4 vinegar to 3/4 water in a clean spray bottle.
- Spritz the mixture onto your fruits and vegetables, and let them sit for a couple of minutes.
- Rinse the mixture off; your produce is safe to eat.
Unfortunately organic food is not always an option for us, as it depends on local suppliers and can cost a lot more. Most of us are buying our fruit and veg from supermarkets, and we are really in the dark with what farming and what type of producing processes it has gone through before we drop it in our trolley.
However, this should not stop us from eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, they are so good for us and will keep us healthier in the long run, we just need to wash them!