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How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables

by Karyn Brown

Fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious and nutritious, and they can be combined and prepared in endless combinations to enrich your diet and improve your health. Of course we want to start with the freshest produce available, and of course we want it to be clean so that we aren’t inadvertently eating pesticides and bacteria! Even if you grow your own produce organically at home, it still needs to be washed before eating it. Insects crawl around on plants, dirt blows around in the wind, dust settles on surfaces, rain carries particles with it and you never know what the neighbor’s cat might be up to! What is the best way to get your produce clean?

According to Better Homes & Gardens, cool clean water is all you need to use to get your produce clean. We have read that almost 75% to 80% of pesticide residues are removed by cold water washing alone! There are many other recommendations online for do-it-yourself produce washes if you want to nudge that percentage up a little higher. We haven’t tried all of them, but here are a few that seem to do the job without negatively impacting the flavor of your food.

2% Salt Water Wash

Combine 4 tbsp salt with 1 gallon water and soak produce for about five minutes. Rinse, dry and store.

White Vinegar Wash (for sturdy fruit with thick skin)

Add 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon water in a large bowl and soak produce up to one hour. Scrub gently, rinse, dry and store.

Salt and Lemon Juice Spray (good for greens)

In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups water, the juice of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp salt. Spray on greens, let sit for about a minute. Add 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon water in a large bowl and soak about 15 minutes. Rinse, dry and store.

Lemon Juice Spray (good for berries)

In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups water and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice. Spray on the berries, coating them thoroughly. Soak in fresh water for about 15 minutes, dry and store.

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

In a spray bottle, mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Spray onto produce and let sit for about 30 seconds. Rinse, dry and store.

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