An apple a day keeps the doctor away, unless of course it's ridden with nasty pesticides and insecticides, then it pretty much does the opposite. Your everyday fruits and vegetables come a long way to reach you, and in the process of growing, harvesting and transporting, it is exposed to a number of toxins and chemicals. These are harmful things and chances are just water won’t wash it all away that easily.
Unless you grow your own produce or you are 100% sure they’re organically grown and reach your house without any toxic exposure, some warm water will do just fine but since the majority of the people cannot source their veggies like that, some extra steps might be necessary before you munch into that apple. Now with COVID floating around, you can never be too safe with your washing process.
Here are some ways you can wash your fruits and veggies to make them super healthy for consumption, as they’re meant to be -
Ensure you wash your hands properly before you touch your produce. A good 20 second long scrub with a natural hand wash is the first step to any cleaning. Remove all produce from their plastics or bags and leave them out in a dry place. Clear the area in and around your sink, ensure it has been sanitised beforehand. DO NOT use hand wash, alcohol or bleach on your produce, the skins of your fruits and vegetables can absorb these and it can prove to be very harmful to ingest. Now let the cleaning games begin.
Soaking helps in two ways, first it helps in ridding your produce of dangerous toxins, second it reinvigorates them, especially in the case of green leafy vegetables.
Method 1 - Use baking powder & vinegar
Who knew your everyday baking shelf items were excellent cleaning agents. So, one of the most effective methods of fruit and vegetable cleaning is by using equal part baking powder and vinegar. Take this mixture, add them to a large bowl and fill with warm water. Stir this well. Now submerge your produce entirely and let this sit for 20-30 minutes.
Empty this out into a colander and wash them under running water, while rubbing with your hands. This will effectively kill a ton of germs roaming on your food. Now you can air dry them and store them in a dry place or in your fridge.
Method 2 - Use salt, turmeric & vinegar
Your 3 ingredients, salt, turmeric and vinegar should be taken in equal parts and mixed in a bowl of hot water. Soak your fruits and veggies in this solution for about 30 minutes. Additionally, you squeeze a lemon and add to the solution. Once the timer is up, you can wash them under tap water and air dry them.
Method 3 - Use a fruit & veggie wash
You’ll need a colander (a sieve with larger holes), a bowl, Koparo’s Natural Fruit & Veggie Wash and water. The bowl should be in accordance to the produce you’re cleaning, it should be able to hold enough water to submerge the produce entirely.
Fill a bowl with water and add 2 capfuls of the Fruit and Veggie Wash solution to it. Soak produce for 15 mins. Empty this out into a colander and rub your produce well under running cold water. Let it air dry. Drying them before you put them in the fridge is very critical else you will end up reducing their shelf-life.
Important Note - For cleaning leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, cabbage. The rules are a little different.
It’s best to wash your green leafy veggies in running water first. Then place them in a large bowl of ice-cold water to which the Fruit and Veggie wash solution has been added. This will ensure sanitation and will also rejuvenate the leaves, leading to a longer shelf life.
Also, remember to remove the stem or damaged or dry leaves prior to cleaning. If this is done after, it tends to contaminate the healthy leaves. This is because stems have a higher tendency of accumulating pesticide and other toxins as compared to a healthy leaf. So chopping these away beforehand will ensure you only get the cleanest and freshest leaves to cook with.
Having fresh fruit and vegetables washed and in your fridge makes them easy to access when you are pressed for time and on the run! Aim to have at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day to keep up that immunity.