June 12, 2011

To Wash Or Not To Wash, That Is The Question

How fun to stop at a roadside produce stand and pick out fresh fruits and vegetables during the summer!  Or to load up your shopping cart at the grocery store with fresh fruits and veggies. 

It is important to properly clean what you eat. I've compiled some suggestions to follow to prepare and safely eat  those luscious summer fruits and vegetables.  I've kept track of the things I have not been doing correctly;  I hope you are doing better than me!

Some produce should be washed right away. Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach can be washed in water and dried as soon as you get them home.  Then dry and store them in the fridge between paper towels in a plastic bag.  You can wash grapes and keep them in a colander in the fridge.  If you are using citrus peelings in a recipe, give that fruit an extra scrub.

Rinse fresh fruit and veggies under cool, running water even if you do not plan to eat the skin or rind, such as cucumbers or cantaloupe.

And always, always wash your hands, knife and surface of your cutting board before and after using them when you are preparing salad, fresh fruit, or a sandwich.

Never wash berries until you are ready to eat them. They are very delicate and will spoil quickly after being washed.  You don't want to wash mushrooms, either.  However, you need to gently wipe or  brush them clean.

When washing produce warm from being outdoors, the rinse water should not be more than ten degrees colder than the produce.  Use cold water if washing produce from the refrigerator.

Bananas, onions, and garlic don't need to be washed prior to eating.

Keep fruit and veggie bins clean.

So let's see--Right now I have two ripe tomatoes in my fridge.  My fruit and veggie bins are clean now but only because I just had an out-of-town guest and cleaned them before she arrived!  I have been eating slices of cantaloupe, but I didn't wash it before cutting it because I figured I'm not eating the rind.  Oh dear.  Are you doing better than I am?

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