Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Produce Wash

I once heard it said that by the time the produce we purchase gets from the farm to our table, it has been touched by more than a dozen people (who may or may not have washed their hands thoroughly).

Even if you buy organic produce, take heed: you should really clean your fruits and vegetables before eating. And not just a mere rinse with some water, but with a good cleaner that will:

*Kill germs*
*Remove dirt and other soil microbes*
*Limit bacteria*
*In the case of conventional produce, remove pesticides and wax*

If you use a simple spray of water, you are really aren't doing much to make your produce much cleaner. But don't use soap or other chemical cleaners, since most fruit is porous and absorb such products.

Instead, make your own Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Produce Wash, a simple, inexpensive and effective way to make sure when you eat your healthy produce, you aren't eating anything, um, unsavory.

This recipe is from my friend Laura. I made it for the first time in the fall and now use it regularly.

A couple things to remember about produce and produce wash:

1. Try to wash the produce immediately before you plan to eat or cook it. Some foods, especially delicate berries, lettuces and herbs will fade more quickly once washed.

2. On the other hand, thick-skinned items like oranges and apples can be washed as soon as you bring them home, so they will be ready to eat.

3. Spray each produce item liberally, and allow the wash to remain on the surface for a few minutes before rinsing, if time allows.

4. Do not use this on mushrooms. Mushrooms are like tiny sponges. Only use a dry, clean cloth to wipe mushrooms clean.

Ready? You will need a spray bottle and only a few simple ingredients:

Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Produce Wash

1 - 16 ounce or larger spray bottle
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

Follow these steps to ensure your creation doesn't fizz out of the bottle (think: volcano science experiment using vinegar and baking soda):

First, funnel the baking soda into the spray bottle.

Second, add the lemon juice, taking care that no seeds or pips end up in the bottle (I squeeze the lemon in a bowl, then add to the bottle).

Third, gently swirl the bottle, to mix the lemon juice and baking soda. It will fizz.

Fourth, slowly, and in small amounts, add the vinegar. Once the vinegar reacts to the baking soda, it will stop fizzing and go flat. But if you add all the vinegar at once, it will bubble over and you'll lose much of your solution.

Finally, add the water. Swirl some more, and once the fizzing has stopped, put the sprayer on top. Voila, homemade produce wash at a fraction of the cost of store bought!

One last note: I like to shake my sprayer each time I use it, to redistribute the baking soda.

I keep this produce wash by my kitchen sink and spray everything before I eat or cook it. Even things like pineapple and kiwi, of which I obviously don't eat the skin, since anything on the fruit's skin will end up on my knife and cutting board...yuck.

Life is sweet,


Anonymous said...

Do you know if you need to refridgerate this? Thanks!

Sweet Pea Chef said...

You do not have to refrigerate it! :)