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How to clean fresh produce:

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I saw something about this on another group, so I googled, and found the following at

 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14540742


"So the magazine did some comparative testing, by cleaning apples and pears in four different ways. They washed one batch with an antibacterial soap. (That, by the way, is not recommended by food safety experts — nobody thinks swallowing soap is a good idea.)

They washed other pieces of fruit with a solution of diluted vinegar (one part vinegar to three parts water), rinsing afterward with pure water. They scrubbed the third group with a brush, and simply rinsed the fourth group with clean water.

To measure how well each technique worked, they sampled the outside of the fruit with sterile cotton swabs, then rubbed the little bits of grime onto Petri dishes.

Jack Bishop says they next let the Petri dishes sit at 80 degrees for several days to see what bacteria grew. Then they counted how many bacterial colonies were present.

It turns out the scrub brush removed 85 percent of the bacteria — a little more than the water alone.

But the cleaning method that worked the best was the dilute vinegar rinse. It removed 98 percent of the bacteria.

Cleaning with Vinegar

"I've got a spray bottle filled with three cups of water and one cup of white vinegar," Bishop says. "It's in a spray bottle — the kind you'd mist your plants with."

Bishop sprays each apple with about six squirts of the solution — just enough to coat the surface — and then rinses it under the tap.

"The cold water will wash the residual flavor from the vinegar, and finishes the cleaning process," Bishop says. "So it's a 30-second, 50-cent investment."

The technique works best for smooth skinned fruits and vegetables. When you get to broccoli, lettuce leaves, or spinach, produce is harder to clean — as we've learned from recent nationwide recalls. Bishop's team found that soaking lettuce in the vinegar solution works well, but it's a little more labor intensive than spraying apples.

"You're going to have to separate out the leaves. You can't do a whole head. And that may be where it gets to be impractical, because you need a big enough bowl to be three parts water and one part vinegar," says Bishop.

The folks at Cook's Illustrated are not the first to document the effectiveness of acidic washes. Researchers at the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Tennessee State University tested dilute vinegar against plain water and a commercial product called Veggie Wash that they purchased at a grocery store.

"We really did not really find the veggie washes effective or necessary," says Sandria Godwin, who oversaw the project.

Godwin says they do get rid of most bacteria, but her team of researchers found that water works just as well. They found that water can remove 98 percent of bacteria when it's used to rinse and soak produce.

For vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower that have lots of crevices, Godwin recommends a two-minute soak, even though this contradicts the advice of government food-safety experts who are concerned about cross-contamination of bacteria.

"They're not recommending the soaking of foods because that puts bacteria in the sink itself," explains Godwin. "We still think you should go ahead and do the soak, and wash your sink when you get through!"

For people who aren't willing to go to all this trouble — what about that old technique of rubbing or polishing a piece of fruit on your clothes to get off the grime? There's not much research, but Godwin did have one student look into it a little bit.

"We lined people up in here and had them blow on their apple and rub it on their shirt or lab coats to see if that's effective," Godwin says. "And surprisingly it did something; it's better than nothing. But it really depends on how clean the shirt is."  "

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 7:26 PM
Replies (21-27):
EireLass
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 7:39 PM

ok

Quoting jabs54: 
Quoting EireLass:

I don't wash any produce. I never have. I don't get sick.

 It's really important you do.  Do you remember all the people that died last year from melons?  People that grow their food "organically" use manure as fertilizer.  That can cause E-coli to infect your fruit.  It is especially dangerous to the very young or old.

specialwingz
by Bronze Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 8:13 PM

How do you peel lettuce (ar any kind of greens for that matter)?  Never knew you were supposed to peel tomatoes before adding them to a salad, either.

Quoting EireLass:

Peel and eat.

Quoting specialwingz:

You don't cook produce for salad and fruits.  So, what then?

Quoting EireLass:

I only buy from the farms. I wash the dirt off - dirt from the gardens. I have only had the common cold 3x in my life. Cooking kills the germs.

Quoting specialwingz:

This just creeps me out!  I can't even begin to imagine just how many people have touched the produce before me.  Who knows WHAT is on their hands!  I've seen parents clean their kids' noses and then start picking through produce.  EW! Just EW EW EW!!!!

Quoting EireLass:

I don't wash any produce. I never have. I don't get sick.



mac1940
by Mary Ann on Feb. 13, 2013 at 8:42 PM

I wash everything, sometimes with vinegar water and sometimes with plain old tap water. 

EireLass
by Gold Member on Feb. 14, 2013 at 9:08 AM

You can peel off the outer leaves of lettuce, didn't you know that? You can throw them away (or give them to the chickens in my case).

Tomatoes....you're supposed to do what pleases you. If you want to peel them, you peel them, if you don't, you don't.

Not sure why this is a big deal to people. It's my belly. I've done the same for 35 years. When the in-laws were here for a weekend, she told me she's never done it either. That would be 55 years.

Smaller farms (where we buy our food) treat their animals totally different than commercial farms. The maneur they spread is different than commercial farms. Dan 'eats' raw eggs, we only drink raw milk. Nobody is getting sick here....or ever has.

Quoting specialwingz:

How do you peel lettuce (ar any kind of greens for that matter)?  Never knew you were supposed to peel tomatoes before adding them to a salad, either.

Quoting EireLass:

Peel and eat.

Quoting specialwingz:

You don't cook produce for salad and fruits.  So, what then?

Quoting EireLass:

I only buy from the farms. I wash the dirt off - dirt from the gardens. I have only had the common cold 3x in my life. Cooking kills the germs.

Quoting specialwingz:

This just creeps me out!  I can't even begin to imagine just how many people have touched the produce before me.  Who knows WHAT is on their hands!  I've seen parents clean their kids' noses and then start picking through produce.  EW! Just EW EW EW!!!!

Quoting EireLass:

I don't wash any produce. I never have. I don't get sick.

specialwingz
by Bronze Member on Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:35 AM

We have had raw milk all our lives.  Raised my kids on it  I am all about farm fresh.  My mother had a cow (no pun intended) over that.  Of course I know how to peel the outer layers of lettuce.  I don't use head lettuce.  I use leaf lettuce, though.

Before I moved from MN to TX, I raised/grew all my own food and veggies.  But, here in TX, I'm really having issues with this southern climate.  I still try to grow my own stuff.  I just don't get the yield I used to get in MN.  And, my manure comes from our own stables.  So, I know what's in it as well.

However, I still wash things.  Nothing like the thought of traces of bird poop or snail trails in your salad.  LOL.

Quoting EireLass:

You can peel off the outer leaves of lettuce, didn't you know that? You can throw them away (or give them to the chickens in my case).

Tomatoes....you're supposed to do what pleases you. If you want to peel them, you peel them, if you don't, you don't.

Not sure why this is a big deal to people. It's my belly. I've done the same for 35 years. When the in-laws were here for a weekend, she told me she's never done it either. That would be 55 years.

Smaller farms (where we buy our food) treat their animals totally different than commercial farms. The maneur they spread is different than commercial farms. Dan 'eats' raw eggs, we only drink raw milk. Nobody is getting sick here....or ever has.

Quoting specialwingz:

How do you peel lettuce (ar any kind of greens for that matter)?  Never knew you were supposed to peel tomatoes before adding them to a salad, either.

Quoting EireLass:

Peel and eat.

Quoting specialwingz:

You don't cook produce for salad and fruits.  So, what then?

Quoting EireLass:

I only buy from the farms. I wash the dirt off - dirt from the gardens. I have only had the common cold 3x in my life. Cooking kills the germs.

Quoting specialwingz:

This just creeps me out!  I can't even begin to imagine just how many people have touched the produce before me.  Who knows WHAT is on their hands!  I've seen parents clean their kids' noses and then start picking through produce.  EW! Just EW EW EW!!!!

Quoting EireLass:

I don't wash any produce. I never have. I don't get sick.


DesignGirl450
by Lynda on Feb. 14, 2013 at 8:39 PM

I just rinse produce with water. 

Bmat
by Barb on Feb. 14, 2013 at 8:47 PM

This is what I have been doing. Although I do scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush, and I peel many fruits and veggies,

Quoting DesignGirl450:

I just rinse produce with water. 


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