Caring for Fruits and Vegetables

How to Wash Vegetables and Fruits to Remove Pesticides

Washing produce – even organic produce- is important to prevent food-borne illness and substantially reduce your exposure to pesticides.

 Most people rinse their produce under cold running water.  While this removes dirt and some pesticides, scientists have found that soaking in salt water, a vinegar solution, or a mixture of baking soda and water before washing, reduces the amount of pesticides more than plain water.

Salt water and vinegar solutions can affect the taste of the fruits and vegetables adversely, so we prefer to use a baking soda solution. An ounce of baking soda mixed with a gallon of water was found to completely remove pesticide residues both on the surface and beneath the skin.

The Baking Soda Method

  • Fill a large bowl or dish pan with warm water.

  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda and mix well.

  • Place the fruits and vegetables in the water

  • Soak for a minute or two.

  • Scrub the fruits and vegetables with your Cestari Fruit and Vegetable Scrubber Brush to remove surface debris.

  • Rinse under cold water.

    How to Keep Vegetables Fresh

    • Buy Local  Some vegetables travel over a week to get to the supermarket.  When you buy local, you can be comfortable knowing that you are buying vegetables soon after harvest, while they are still in their prime, without trading shelf life for travel time.
    • Store Produce as Soon as You Get Home  Make the produce stop the last one on your shopping trip, so that your vegetables don’t sit in a hot car while you run around completing more errands.
    • Remove Vegetable Tops While vegetables like beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, rutabaga, have leafy greens that you may want to enjoy, they will pull moisture from the roots they are attached to if you don’t remove them.   Separate them from the rest of the vegetable and store in a plastic bag until you are ready to use them.
    • Remove Excess Moisture  Wet vegetables can become soggy quickly.  If they are damp, wrap them in a lint free towel or line the storage bag with a paper towel to absorb any remaining moisture.
    • Shake Off the Dirt  Don’t wash your veggies before storing (see the moisture note above), but shake off any dirt before placing them in the refrigerator.
    • Don’t Leave Them Naked  A refrigerator can dry things out quickly, so keep your veggies in a plastic bag or specialized storage container to keep them fresh.  This is helpful even if you have a special humidity-controlled produce drawer.
    • Watch for Cold Spots  Many refrigerators have spots prone to freezing where the tubes for ice makers or freezers are close to the surface.  Save these spots for items like butter, and place your produce where it will be cold, but not at risk of freezing.
    • Not All Produce Should be Refrigerated  Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and the like do better at room temperature – but make sure to find them a cool dry place out of direct sunlight to keep them at their peak longer.
    • Water Your Herbs  Parsley, basil, and other herbs stay fresh longer if placed in a jar of water and covered with a plastic bag before being refrigerated.
    • Check in With Your Veggies Take a good look at your vegetables every few days – changing towels or bags and refreshing water. Trim and discard any wilted, brown, or yellow spots. Discard if they have started to shrivel or grow mold.
    • Change Your Game Plan  If you bought something for a specific dish, but now won’t be doing that before the vegetable will spoil, consider freezing it, or cooking it in another preparation before it is too far gone.

    Copyright 2020, Larson MacDowell Enterprises LLC