3 reasons to wash fruits and vegetables
First, even under the best farm-to-table situations, it’s important to wash your produce because you still don’t know what invisible nasties might have made contact with your produce on its way to your kitchen. Harmful bacteria could be present and lead to foodborne illness.
Second, and somewhat less immediate, is the potential for pesticide residues to be present on the surface of your fruits and veggies. Though pesticide residues may not represent the most pressing concerns there is evidence that they contribute to cancer in children.
And lastly, it’s important to know that bacteria can develop AFTER you’ve brought your fresh produce home, washed it, and stored it in the refrigerator. So the best policy is to wash it just PRIOR to consuming it. That will give you the best chance of minimizing any risk that might exist.
If you’d like to read a little more about the myths associated with washing produce, check out this article from Modern Farmer.
The best ways to wash fruits and vegetables
- Start by washing your hands to avoid any possible contaminants
- Prep your work area by cleaning the counter, cutting boards, and utensils after you’ve peeled any fruits or vegetables and before you cut them. Using the same surface between peeling and cutting without removing the contaminants is futile.
- Use a brush and potable water to clean produce with a tough skin
- Hard to clean produce like broccoli can be soaked in cold potable water and then dried on a paper towel
- Delicate fruit like blackberries and strawberries can be cleaned using the spraying function on the faucet or with a spray bottle
- Greens can be sprayed and dried on a towel or using a salad spinner
When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s better to be safe than sorry.