Guest Post By: Luna Regina
Reasons to clean fruits and vegetables properly
To Consume Raw Fruits & Veggies
Most fruits and vegetables are best to be consumed as they are, as lush and fresh as possible. Not only can they be made into delicious healthy treats like smoothies or salads, but it is also because of the number of nutrients fully reserved. Most cooking methods involve heat and despite being effective in eradicating bacteria, they also destroy nutrients present in fruits and vegetables.
There are also opinions claiming removing the skin to be a good option. Well … that’s a good one indeed, but not the best. Some fruits or vegetables have edible skin, a few of which even contain lots of vitamins (apple skin for example) and therefore should not be thrown away. To those with inedible skins, it’s inevitable that you will contaminate their flesh with either bacteria or pesticides remains on their skins during the food processing progress.
To Remove Pesticides Residue
Even when eating raw fruits doesn’t suit your taste, As mentioned earlier, there are still residues of indigestible chemical substances and unfortunately, cooking won’t entirely eliminate these.
Therefore, to consume raw fruits and vegetables safely, properly washing is not a considerable option, but rather, a must.
Effective Tips to Clean Your Fruits and Veggies
Tap water doesn’t remove all toxic substances and bacteria present. If it is not enough to wash your hands with just plain water, it is also not enough to wash what you consume in the same way. For a healthier lifestyle, I strongly recommend you to follow these tips.
Tip #1: Make sure your tap water is clean
“What’s wrong with tap water? The government takes care of it, so of course, it’s safe to drink.” – me in 2014. However, things aren’t that simple.
Our water source lies mainly underground, and it is toxic waste from factories that eventually infiltrates into the soil and contaminates the water. Therefore, purifying water is an extremely difficult progress because it takes a lot of steps to remove indigestible substances and bacteria while keeping water safe to drink.
Here’s what might be in your tap water:
- Disinfectants (chlorine, chloramine, fluoride)
- Hormones, pharmaceuticals
- Microorganisms, which include Giardia, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Legionella
- Inorganic materials such as phosphorus, sulfur, cyanide, asbestos, mercury
- Volatile organic materials (VOCs) like styrene, benzene, and other carcinogens
While the best is being done by authorities to make tap water safer, why not protect yourself first? Water filters are now available, conveniently installed under your sink and filter out all impurities within tap water. Regarding the best under sink water filter systems, have a look into this review made by Healthy Kitchen 101.
Tip #2: Soak your fruits and vegetables in a proper solution
Having clean water is one step to make, but cleaning fruits and vegetables takes more than just that. It’s important that all of them are soaked in clean water mixed with a special cleaning agent for about 5 minutes.
Salt and baking soda are two among possible cleaning agents. Salt is commonly known for its antibacterial property, while baking soda is reported to be super effective in removing pesticides. Simply soak your vegetables with clean water, and stir in several teaspoons of baking soda, or salt, or both. Personally, these are my favorites as they’re always available around my kitchen, thus super cheap!
Tip #3: Know your veggies
Vegetables and fruits are diverse in shapes and sizes, and so are the methods in which they are washed.
The key is to make sure all spots on your vegetables are revealed and exposed to your veggie cleaning solution. If you’re leaving lettuce leaves “lingering” each other, all pesticides residue in hidden spots might not get washed off completely. Water can sure reach these spots, but a good rub raises the chance of getting all those toxins off. Although, broccoli and cauliflower would appreciate a gentle rub rather than a hard one..
Tip #4: Keep your cutting boards and knives clean!
Of course, these have to be clean because they WILL touch your food A LOT of times!
There are various kinds of cutting boards out there regarding the materials used to make them. Although easy to wash, glass, steel or cutting boards made of harder materials can easily dent or even chip knife edges.
Wooden and plastic boards are the most common among all, and they are also the friendliest to knives. However, the more they are used the more cuts they have, and bacteria thrive within these cuts, especially if they are regularly exposed to meat, fish or any sort of proteins. Dish soaps don’t usually reach these spots.
The best solution is to spray these cutting boards with a cleaning solution that could be easily washed off with water when needed, and 3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide is the perfect candidate. After cleaning your board with soap, grab the bottle and make a few puffs. The solution should eventually steep into the cracks and have those bacteria eliminated.
Knives are easier to clean. There’s no hidden spots that dish soap can’t reach. One wipe and all bacteria are gone.
It’s the knife blocks that we all must pay close attention to. When knives aren’t cleaned properly, bacteria might migrate into these slots and build their own community, contaminating knives before each use later on. Therefore, it’s best to spray your knives with the Hydrogen Peroxide liquid after washing so no bacterium gets near your knives while they’re in storage.