The COVID-19 pandemic had many of us revisit our fruits and vegetable washing schedule, questioning whether simple water is enough to disinfect raw produce. Surely, a healthy food recipe is not actually healthy if we do not remove most of the microbes from raw fruits and vegetables before turning them into a salad or curry. So, what is the best way to wash your fruits and vegetables to stay safe not only from the coronavirus but also other bacteria? Is tap water enough or do you need commercial disinfectants?
For you, here are the 5 best ways to wash fruits and vegetables at home.
- Wash under cool tap water
The age-old way of washing produce indeed still works. It is not about what you use to wash your fruits and vegetables but how you wash them. For produce with tough skin like a watermelon, yam or potato rub thoroughly with your fingers or use a sponge.
For those who are extra careful, you can even use a mild detergent and clean it thoroughly under running water. You may also use a brush to clean the pores.
- Baking Soda or Vinegar
For tender skinned items like tomatoes, ladyfinger, beans, or grapes there are a few age-old ways that can come very handy.
Use one part vinegar in three parts water in a bucket or large bowl for the first wash and then rinse with clean water. Vinegar also helps decrease microbes on vegetables and fruits. It works well best for produce with smooth skin and for leafy greens.
Many veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli have nooks and crannies can also be soaked in the vinegar solution 3-5 minutes and then rinsed with clean water.
- Baking Soda
Make a solution of I bucket of water with 1/2 cup table salt and three tablespoon baking soda and soak vegetables for 15-20 minutes. Take out and rinse well with cool tap water.
- Never use disinfectants or bleaches
Sure, they are made to kill microbes but none of the disinfectants are edible. If ingested in any amount over time, the consequences can be lethal leading to poisoning at different stages. Even the use of soaps and detergents to wash fruits and vegetables is a strict no. Stick to your potable tap water and have faith that the heat of cooking will kill the remaining microbes.
- Dry immediately with a clean towel
The drying stage also helps to remove bacteria and viruses. Once you wipe down your food and vegetables, you are not only depriving the microbes of a moist environment but also directly removing them from the surface of the produce. Be sure to use a clean towel every time and all your best recipes should remain microbe-free.
- Wash your hands thoroughly
This is where you should make use of soap. When you get veggies home the first and before washing your vegetables and fruits to put them into your healthy food recipe, wash your hands thoroughly with soap. Also, clean the kitchen counter, knives, chopping board, and sink which will come in contact with the cut produces before preparing your food.
During the journey from farm to table vegetables and fruits are handled by several people and are kept in an open market. This can result in some contamination like microbes, soil, and dirt. There is also a residual pesticide. Cleaning them thoroughly is a vital step towards staying healthy.