Tips and Recommendations for Washing Fruits and Vegetables

March 6, 2019
Although we usually peel fruits and vegetables before eating them, they should always be washed afterwards to prevent any bacteria contained in the peel from contaminating the products.

Eating fruits and vegetables is critical to keeping us healthy because these foods provide a lot of nutrients that help our bodies perform essential functions. In addition, they contribute to a healthy immune system that improves our resistance to disease.

The best way to consume fruits is in their natural raw state or in juices that don’t contain any additives or preservatives.

Some vegetables are also better eaten raw, and others steamed or boiled in a little water to better draw out their healthful properties.

fruits

While these foods offer countless benefits, their outdoor cultivation frequently involves a lot of environmental contamination. Along with that, plenty of pesticides and chemicals are applied on farms.

Likewise, even once they’re displayed for sale at your grocery store, they come in contact with new bacteria through the hands of stockers and potential buyers.

Want to know more?: Are There Pesticides in Your Food?

Methods for washing and disinfecting fruits and vegetables

Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the greatest disinfectants for fruits and vegetables. It also has antioxidant properties eliminating harmful bacteria from the surface and allowing them to last longer.

  • Add a cup of vinegar to a bowl of water.
  • Soak your vegetables in this mixture for 20 minutes before consuming.
  • Rinse off after the 20 minutes.
vinegar to wash fruits and vegetables

Mixing vinegar with lemon can also contribute to the healthy preservation of fruits.

  • Firstly, combine equal parts vinegar, water, and lemon juice in a spray bottle.
  • Soak fruits in this mixture.
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Lastly, rinse with clean water.

See also: Apple Cider Vinegar for Healthy Weight Loss

Natural Options

Natural soaps are also good disinfectants. However, most importantly, use them in small amounts and always rinse well after use to remove any residue that could alter the flavor.

You can also mix water with 5 drops of tea tree oil and soak fruits and vegetables in this for a few minutes to disinfect them. Dry them thoroughly afterward.

Recommendations to keep in mind

washing vegetables

Wash hands and products thoroughly

To remove traces of bacteria, you need to wash each food item thoroughly before you eat it. Even before cooking, you should make sure your containers and utensils have been cleaned and are free from contaminants. Also, remember to wash your hands well before starting any recipe.

It’s not always a good idea to peel every fruit or vegetable before consuming, because there are nutrients contained in the peel that are important to our health.

That said, you should always wash your peeled vegetables because bacteria that is present on the outside can occasionally still contaminate the inside of the fruit or vegetable.

Avoid harsh chemicals

Avoid using chemicals or hot water when cleaning your fruits and vegetables. This can cause some of their beneficial nutrients to be lost.

Ditch the outer layer of leaves of vegetables

When cleaning vegetables like lettuce or cabbage, you should discard the outermost leaves. This is where most of the bacteria reside. Then, you should wash each leaf to eliminate any presence of insect waste or chemicals.

Remember…

It’s very important that you make sure your fruits and vegetables are completely free of bacteria that could cause infections or disease.

Eating foods that haven’t been thoroughly washed can cause adverse effects and alter your intestinal and digestive balance. More so, this can cause diarrhea or food poisoning. This is why it’s important that you always practice good hygiene during food disinfection and preparation.

Raw fruits and vegetables provide a lot of nutrients to the body, such as proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other compounds that can be lost during cooking. But contact with chemicals and bacteria can leach out those nutrients.

So rather than avoiding eating these foods raw, just follow the recommendations we outlined above to remove these harmful substances and promote better overall health.

Hjorth, K., Johansen, K., Holen, B., Andersson, A., Christensen, H. B., Siivinen, K., & Toome, M. (2011). Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables from South America – A Nordic project. Food Control. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2010.05.017

Jin, F., Wang, J., Shao, H., & Jin, M. (2010). Pesticide use and residue control in China. Journal of Pesticide Science. https://doi.org/10.1584/jpestics.g10-15

Samad, A., Azlan, A., & Ismail, A. (2016). Therapeutic effects of vinegar: A review. Current Opinion in Food Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cofs.2016.03.001