Washing fruit and veggies is something I haven’t thought out too well. Although I’ve heard time and again to not do this, I use a tiny bit of watered down dish soap to wash produce with tough skins like apples, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. As for things like berries with a soft, absorbent skin, I just rinse in tap water. This bothers me for two reasons. One, I don’t drink my unfiltered Chicago tap water for obvious reasons, so why would I wash my absorbent berries in it. Two, I’ve become aware that parasites are all around us, including at the grocery store. I don’t feel confident that a rinse in tap water will remove all trace of parasites from the fruit.
Recently, I came across a great way to wash berries and other veggies that does not change the taste and makes me feel a lot more secure about getting them clean. It’s as simple as this:
- Fill a bowl with about 2 cups of filtered water, the kind you drink.
- Add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar.
- Stir a bit, add your fruit or veggies and stir gently.
- Allow to soak a few minutes.
- Strain out the water.
- Rinse under cold water.
I’ve been doing this a lot lately with strawberries because they are in season here, and delicious. After the soaking stage, I pull the strawberries out by hand to look in the leftover water. Every time I find bugs. All different kinds. I am glad my organic fruit is clean enough to host bugs. I am also glad that my fruit wash is effectively removing bugs I can see.
What about the bugs I can’t see? Good news, vinegar has been shown in studies to reduce bacteria and viruses from strawberries by upwards of 90%. (Source)
I have not tried this wash on produce other than berries, but in my research I have found that people use it for all types of produce. A great idea I came across is to make a large batch and wash all your produce at one time, even if you’re not going to be eating it all at that time.
Regarding pesticides, I have read that vinegar (any type) will remove a portion of surface pesticides. The problem with non-organic produce is that the pesticides are inside the produce as well as on the surface. Rain water soaks the chemicals into the ground where it is soaked up by the roots. It can soak into the plant when it is sprayed as well. I firmly believe the best way to not eat toxic poison is to keep it really, really far away from your home and your food. Buying organic is the only way to not consume toxic pesticides on your food. I did a lot of research on organics which resulted in this post and this post if you are interested.
This is just one of the many reasons why you should keep raw apple cider vinegar in your kitchen at all times. Happy washing!