Real Food: what to do with the bugs, dirt and other residue

Photo Courtesy of Men’s Journal

Hello There…

 As you read through the list, there are some things we won’t need to worry about with our sustainably grown produce. However, it is a great guide for the bugs, dirt, and other organic residue.

How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables

•Start by keeping your kitchen countertops, refrigerator, cookware and cutlery clean.
•Always wash your hands before preparing meals and handling fruits and vegetables.
•Keep fresh greens, fruits and vegetables away from uncooked meats to avoid cross-contamination.
•Choose healthy looking, ripe fruits and vegetables when you shop. Avoid bruised, moldy and mushy produce.
•Wait until just before you eat or prepare your fruits and vegetables to wash them. Fruits and vegetables have natural coatings that keep moisture inside, and washing them will make them spoil sooner.
•Wash all pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, even if the label claims they are pre-washed.
•Wash all parts of your fruits and vegetables, even if you don’t plan on eating them. Bacteria can live on the rind of an orange or the skin of a cucumber, for example. Though you may peel them away and toss them in the trash, the bacteria can be transferred from the outside of the fruit or vegetable to the knife you use to cut them, and then onto the parts you will be eating.
•Gently rub fruits and vegetables under running water. Don’t use any soaps, detergents, bleaches or other toxic cleaning chemicals. These chemicals will leave a residue of their own on your produce.
•Commercial sprays and washes sold for cleaning vegetables really aren’t any better than cleaning thoroughly with plain water, so don’t waste your money on them.
•Firmer fruits and vegetables, such as apples and potatoes, can be scrubbed with a vegetable brush (buy direct) while rinsing with clean water to remove dirt and residues.
•Remove and discard the outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage heads, and thoroughly rinse the rest of the leaves.
•Rinse berries and other small fruits thoroughly and allow them to drain in a colander.

Remember that the fruits and vegetables you buy may look clean when you pick them out at the grocery store, but you can’t see bacteria or chemicals. Your fruits and vegetables still need to be washed before you eat them or serve them to guests or family members. This is especially important for produce and greens that are eaten raw.

Thank you About.com for this posting. Comments? Please email me at produce@zoegarden.com.

Jessica

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