Washing up on produce

As tempting as it may be to bite into a freshly bought apple straight from the bag, it’s long been known produce should be rinsed before consumption.But, just how much washing is required?


Visible dirt on your potatoes, the thought of all the hands that have touched your tomatoes and the various sprays used for growing healthy, delicious produce – the reasons for washing before eating seem obvious.

While New Zealand’s strict food safety rules ensure our produce is safe to eat, if you’re not convinced running under water alone will get your goods quite clean enough – you may wish to consider a fruit and vege wash.

These can be purchased at the supermarket, perhaps at the same time you stock up on fresh fruit and veges, or, you can channel Martha Stewart and make your own at home.

Most recipes for a homemade fruit and vege wash use one cup of vinegar and three cups of water in a spray bottle with 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Or, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and baking soda with one cup of water. Spray fruit and veges, rinse under cold water, using a soft bristled scrubbing brush to remove any dirt and dry off with paper towels. For extra Martha points, do this before loading the goods into the fridge and fruit bowl.

For leafy greens, wait until just before you plan to use them as extra moisture can speed up decay. Fill a bowl with one cup of vinegar to four parts water and 1 tsp of salt, add the greens and let soak for five minutes. Rinse thoroughly and dry using a paper towel or the salad spinner.


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