Have you ever stopped to think about what's the most effective way to clean your produce? You’ve probably seen those fruit & vegetable washes that claim to make your produce safer to consume. But are they worth the money?
I’m all about doing whatever’s cheap, easy & effective. That’s why I was so excited to discover that simple vinegar is one of the most effective ways to clean produce! And this claim is based on science! In 2003, researchers at the University of Florida infected strawberries with E. coli, Salmonella, poliovirus & bacteriophages & compared the effectiveness of various methods of washing. They found that vinegar reduced bacteria by 90% and viruses by 95%!
You may be interested to know that bleach reduced bacteria & viruses by 98%. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of washing food in bleach! Yuck! That doesn’t seem tasty or safe to consume. The consumer, premade washes that were tested were found to be somewhat effective, but not with defeating both bacteria and viruses. There are some other solutions that were found to work well, but they aren't common household products &/or they were used for veterinary purposes. (I prefer products approved for humans.)
If you’re too lazy to do anything but rinse your fruit, don’t worry too much. In the study, agitating strawberries for 2 minutes in water did reduce the microbial populations by 41-90%, depending on the water temperature. So rinsing in water is better than nothing. But, that approach leaves a lot of room for doubt & error.
BOTTOM LINE: The best household solution for cleaning produce seems to be vinegar & water. For those who want to be on the safe side, do as the researchers did & soak your fruit & veggies for 2 minutes in a clean sink or bowl.
For those of you like me, who don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen, a faster & more practical approach is to fill a squirt/spray bottle with 1 PART VINEGAR & 3 PARTS PURIFIED WATER. Then simply spray, scrub & rinse! Vinegar is inexpensive & you can reuse your own bottle over & over.
VOILA! A SIMPLE SPRAY TO KEEP GERMS & WORRIES AWAY!
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