How and with what to wash fruits and vegetables.
Whether it is necessary to wash raspberries, whether fruit wax is harmful, and whether it is worth using detergents, we understand the article.
General rules for washing vegetables and fruits
“Doctor, I have just consumed a herring rinsed with milk. As I understand it, is washing fruit no longer important? As a joke, it’s funny. But seriously – no options: it is important always to wash fruits and vegetables, even if you have collected them in your own country house. And certainly necessary if bought in a store or on the market. We recommend following these general guidelines:
- Use running water; in any case; it should be used to complete washing,
- Use stainless steel knives and peelers,
- Do not store washed vegetables and fruits for a long time: wet and sometimes damaged skin becomes a testing ground for bacteria and mold fungi.
Do I need to use detergents for fruits and vegetables?
We asked this question to a nutritionist:
“Rospotrebnadzor does not recommend using household detergents and soap for washing fruits and herbs. Unfortunately, even being labeled “eco” or “children’s,” they are not rinsed out to the end. Now imagine how much waste will enter the body if every day there are fresh fruits and vegetables processed in this way.
Studies have also shown that the difference in the number of bacteria on fruits well washed with running water and washed with detergents, soap, and even soda is negligible.
If you still have doubts or are worried about the safety of children, then soak fruits and vegetables for 15-20 minutes in cold water, and then rinse thoroughly under the tap. For greater peace of mind, you can rinse small and soft fruits and berries with boiled water and cut off the skin from hard fruits.
Now let’s move on to the vegetable section.
How to wash watermelons and large melons
Watermelons, melons, pumpkins, zucchini, and squash – must be washed under hot running water with a brush. After all, these fruits ripened on the ground, and traces of preparations with which plants were treated against diseases and pests could also remain on the peel. You can also pour boiling water over thick-skinned fruits.
How to wash root crops
Before peeling potatoes, carrots, beets, or other root crops, we recommend you wash off the remaining soil with running water and a brush. If you are going to boil or bake vegetables “in their skins,” then soak them for 10-15 minutes, and then wash them under running water with a sponge or soft brush without damaging the skin.
Wash other vegetables and fruits
We mean vegetables that, unlike root crops, grow above the ground – cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and the like. In most cases, running water can be dispensed with; in case of severe contamination, take a sponge. Pay attention to irregularities and depressions near the petioles: dust, sand, or plant debris can accumulate there.
Fruit is a little more difficult. Apples, pears, and plums are covered with a thin wax coating – this is the natural protection of the fruit. In addition, its quantity is so scanty that it does not bring any harm to health by itself. Rubbing domestic apples and plums with a brush is useless, but thorough washing in running water and attention to irregularities is what you need.
Imported fruits are additionally treated with wax or chemicals (for example, sulfur oxide) to be stored longer and have a marketable appearance. Creating a thin protective layer of wax, gelatin, or fat on fruits and vegetables for better storage is a technique known from antiquity (for example, it is mentioned in Chinese treatises of the 13th century). Edible wax, applied in minimal amounts with the help of sprinklers, is not dangerous for health, but you should not clog the body again. It is better to wash off all unnecessary with warm water and a soft brush or sponge.
Citrus fruits are usually treated with sulfur oxide. This is a gas; after processing, it disappears (the fruit becomes glossy). However, slight traces of sulfites may remain on the peel. Therefore, I recommend choosing citrus fruits with a matte peel, and in any case, pour boiling water over them before use, then rinse them in warm water.
How to wash berries without crushing them
Cherries, grapes, currants, gooseberries, and other small fruits and berries must also be washed. It is better to do this in two stages:
- Fill the berries with cold water in a deep container so that dry leaves, twigs, and another debris float up, and when the berries settle to the bottom, carefully drain the water (if there is a lot of litter, repeat the operation);
- Transfer to a colander and rinse for 4-5 minutes under running water, carefully sorting the berries with your fingers. Let the water drain, then spread a thin layer on a towel to dry slightly.
“Not only berries but also fruits, herbs, and vegetables should be washed immediately before use. Studies have been repeatedly conducted that have shown that bacteria multiply faster on wet vegetables, fruits, greens: in just a few hours, there are twice as many of them as on unwashed, but dry fruits.”
When washing, it is better to divide large bunches of grapes into smaller ones: this way, the berries will be washed better, and you will be able to notice and remove spoiled ones. It is better not to tear the grapes from the branches, especially if you feel that you cannot eat everything in one sitting – this way, the skin is not injured, and the berries do not deteriorate longer.
And what about such sissies as raspberries and wild strawberries? At first glance, washing these berries does not seem like a good idea – they are so easy to turn into “porridge.” If you collect raspberries from a bush in your country house, then decide for yourself whether to wash them or not to wash. But if you buy berries in a store or on the market, it’s better to play it safe: do not forget that even in ecologically clean areas, there is dust, specks, and worm beetles. Fill with cool water, drain through a colander, and then rinse again under a weak stream.
How to wash greens
There is a special approach to greenery: a little patience and a lot of water. At the base of the leaves, dirt accumulates in the folds and twigs. To wash it off without damaging the delicate leaves, you need:
- Sort out the greens: remove the roots or lower part of the stems, rotten and dried leaves; wash off heavy dirt under running water;
- Put the greens in a deep bowl with cold salted (1 tablespoon of salt per liter) water and leave for 10-15 minutes. Then, the remaining dirt will settle to the bottom;
- Carefully select the greens from the bowl into a colander and rinse again under running cold water; Lay out on a towel or paper towels to dry slightly.
“They ask me a question: do you need to wash chopped salads and salad mixes in a package? Here, as in the case of packaged berries, it depends on the conscientiousness of the supplier and the level of your trust in him. When cutting greens, the producers of such packaged salads wash it anyway – who will pack lettuce soiled with the earth into bags? If any grain of sand suddenly made you doubt, rinse the greens with clean running water.”
As you can see, there are no particular difficulties with washing vegetables and fruits. The main thing is not to forget to do this; nothing will prevent you from enjoying their taste and benefits.