As a Mom, I believe that the very first thing that needs attention when it comes to bringing a healthy meal on the table is ensuring that all the ingredients I use are safe for consumption and won’t make anybody feel sick or unwell. This is why it is highly important that we wash our food properly before adding them to any meal.
Although it may sound basic and straightforward to say that we should always wash anything we buy from the market or grocery store, it is not always as simple as that. This is especially true when we are talking about fruits and vegetables!
Now, you might ask what really is the proper way of washing fruits and vegetables. Read on and learn from this useful guide to washing produce that you definitely need to know.
But first, is washing with just water really enough?
You might think that water is enough for washing your fruits and veggies, but in reality, it isn’t. It’s good if you grow your own produce but if you don’t and you are not buying authentic organic produce, there’s a high chance that the fruits and vegetables you buy are grown using insecticides and some other chemicals.
These chemicals are harmful to yours and your family’s health so you definitely need to make sure the produce are cleaned quite well, something you can’t do with just water. E.coli and other bacteria are not washed away by running water, no matter how strong the pressure in your faucet is.
The best way to wash your produce is one in three options. Each option can help you get rid of the unwanted chemical residue and bacteria in your fruits and vegetables. And they don’t involve water alone.
First option: water and bleach
What? Is this for real? Why would we even use bleach when it is a harmful substance itself, right?
This might just be the questions running through your head upon learning that produce, even raw meat, can be washed safely using water and bleach. But, yes, you read it right. You can definitely wash your fruits and vegetables with a mixture of water and chlorine, or most commonly known as bleach.
In the biography entitled “Healer” written by Joseph Dispenza about Dr. Hazel Parcells, a nutritionist, she recommended washing all fruits, vegetables and raw meat with a combination of Clorox and water. She specifically said to use a mixture of 1 teaspoon or Clorox for every 1 gallon of water.
She even detailed the benefits of this cleaning method on page 154 of the said book:
“The benefits of this simple food treatment are many. Fruits and vegetables will keep longer. The wilted ones will return to a fresh crispness. Drained, faded hues will give way to vivid, vibrant colors, tastelessness will be replaced with flavor and tang. For very little effort, you will have fresh, crunchy vegetables and juicy, sweet, zesty fruits that will keep twice as long. With the cleansing soak, the flavors of both fruits and vegetables will be enhanced greatly, tasting as fresh as if they had just been picked from the garden and the orchard. Most important, once cleansed, all the dangerous additives in the food will have been removed.”
Here’s how you wash using bleach and water:
Dr. Parcells emphasized that soaking is important in the cleaning process as well. For thick-skinned produce like carrots, potatoes, apples and citrus fruits, the soaking time should be within 10 to 15 minutes. For others with thinner peelings such as berries and leafy veggies, the soaking time can be anywhere within 5 to 10 minutes.
After soaking, you can now rinse the produce with water for 5 more minutes before finally getting them ready for cooking or storage.
Although it might seem unusual or unsafe for us to use bleach for cleaning the food we eat, Dr. Parcells reassured in her biography that this method is nothing but safe and effective, as long as you follow the right solution. She once met a man who exclaimed that “bleach is poison!” to which she replied:
“Yes, and a spoonful of whiskey won’t kill you — but a quart might.”
Dr. Parcell specifically mentioned using Clorox and again, it is important to note that you can use only one teaspoon of Clorox for every gallon of water to keep it safe and effective.
Second option: water and hydrogen peroxide
If you are still not comfortable with using the water and bleach mixture, you can try another option which is through using a combination of water and hydrogen peroxide. Dubbed as “nature’s bleach”, the 3% solution sold in grocery stores is safe enough to be used in whitening just about everything, including your teeth!
Peroxide is known to be effective in killing harmful bacteria including E.coli which means it is also great for washing produce right after you buy them from the store. It can also help you get rid of any bug that you might not see at first glance.
Here’s how you wash using peroxide:
For every gallon of water, you can mix a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. Make sure you use cold water and the colder your water is, the better.
Get your produce and submerge them in the solution completely. Wait for about 10 minutes before rinsing them with water. The fruits and vegetables can now be dried with a towel before storage or used for cooking, whatever you plan to do after.
Third option: water and white vinegar
Now, this option might be the most popular one here and probably a method that some moms are already using. If you are not too keen on using bleach and still feel uncomfortable with using peroxide, this method might just be the choice for you.
Here’s how you wash using vinegar and water:
Add one cup of white vinegar for every three cups of very cold water. Soak your produce in this solution for about 10 minutes and rinse with water afterward. Dry with a clean towel and prepare for storage or cooking.
If you feel that using this method is not enough, you can pour 5% vinegar solution in a spray bottle, spray it directly to the fruits and vegetables, leave it for 10 minutes and rinse with water. This method does not involve adding water in the spray bottle to dilute the vinegar because you would want to get the full potency of the vinegar when you spray it on produce.
Some tips in washing produce to live by
- We can’t emphasize enough that washing your fresh fruits and vegetables is very, very important. In order to increase your confidence in the cleanliness of your food, better to rinse them with water more than just once.
- Wash everything as soon as you get home from the store. You don’t just wash fruits and veggies before you cook or eat them. Produce must be washed as soon as they get to your kitchen, whether you plan to cook them immediately or not.
- Using cold water is the better choice when it comes to cleaning produce. I think I mentioned this more than once in this guide so you certainly know by now that it is a great tip to remember.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling fruits, vegetables, and raw meat.
- Make sure that you are wearing rubber gloves when cleaning produce with bleach and water. Some people are quite sensitive to chlorine. If you know for a fact that your skin is sensitive, it’s always better to be cautious and keep your hands free from potential rashes.
- Vegetables with soil such as root crops are fine, just as long as you are thorough when it comes to cleaning them. Having a scrub brush will help in making sure these types of food are cleaned the right way.
You see, keeping your family safe from bacteria and germs is absolutely important, and all of these begin with properly washing the food we eat before storing or cooking them.
Safety and health always come first, and that’s why the simple yet important practice of thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables should always be prioritized.
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