Weekly Tip: A Fruit and Vegetable Wash

“Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.” ~Julia Child

A Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Wash

After last week’s tip, I received a question from Tracy, a co-worker of my husband.  She asked about the best way to wash fruits and vegetables.

I try to buy organic produce whenever possible, so I rinse fruits and vegetables with water only.  However, in light of all the news reports about bacteria causing illness, I decided to research the question.

According to the FDA, produce should:

  • Be washed under running water before you cut, cook or eat it.
  • Not be washed with the retail vegetable washes because the ingredients cannot be monitored.

The FDA also states that, “Unwashed produce can be contaminated with bacteria, that when consumed can lead to food-borne illness.”

homemade food wash

After reading many articles about effective homemade washes for produce, I chose the following recipe:

  •  1 cup water
  •  2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  •  2 tablespoons of white vinegar

Mix together in a bottle.  Spray the produce, let sit for 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

Washing fruit with homemade food wash

I like this fruit and vegetable wash because the lemon juice provides an acidic environment that germs don’t thrive in. Also, white vinegar kills many, but not all, bacteria.

One cautionary fact concerns anyone who has a compromised immune system.  I found one article that recommended that produce be washed with water and “food grade” hydrogen peroxide.

Once you have decided how you want to clean your produce, do the following:

  • Don’t wash the fruits and vegetables until you are going to use them.
  • Retained water speeds up spoilage and promotes the growth of bacteria.
    A lot of produce is wet when we purchase it because of the misters in the markets. Dry everything thoroughly before storing it. NOTE: I wrap a paper towel around my vegetables before placing in a bag.
  • Remove the tops from beets and carrots and any loose outer leafs from lettuce and cabbage. This will also reduce spoilage.




Patricia Rio
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