A Simple Way To Wash Your Fruits & Vegetables

A Simple Way to Wash Your Fruits & Vegetables

Most of us purchase fresh produce every week. I have always rinsed my food before eating it, but a few months ago I was told that you are actually supposed to wash your fruits & vegetables. I pictured myself scrubbing an apple with soap and water and thought that for sure this person was crazy.

Am I the only person on the planet that didn’t know that many stores actually sell vegetable/fruit wash? You can also make your own, which is exactly what I did. Why pay the store to do something that I can do myself for much cheaper?

Wash Fruit and Vegetables

You never know what kind of pesticides may be living on your fruits & vegetables, so it’s a good idea to give them a good cleaning (not rinsing, apparently) before you consume them.

This week, I picked up 4 cartons of strawberries for just $1 each. I ended up freezing half of them for fruit drinks and will eat up the other half during the week. I needed to wash them well before freezing and storing, so I did what I’ve been doing for the last few months now.

Below is a basic plan, outlining how you can wash your fruits and vegetables at home for next to nothing.

Wash Strawberries

1. Prepping

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of salt.

2. Cleaning

  • Greens (Spinach, Lettuce, etc.): Separate from the bunch and rinse thoroughly under cool, running water until there is no dirt left on the leaves. Then soak in your bowl of lemon juice and salt water for 2-3 minutes.
  • Other Fruits & Vegetables: Rinse off all dirt under cool, running water. Soak in the lemon juice and salt water for 5 minutes.

Soaking Strawberries

3. Another Rinse

Once you are finished rinsing and soaking, you then need to rinse off your fruits & vegetables one more time under cool running water, to get rid of the salt and lemon juice.

4. Drying

Place all of your fruits and vegetables on a large, dry dish towel. If possible, use another dish towel to hand dry (this works well for things like apples, cucumbers, etc.). Otherwise, let everything sit out until it is dry. It may help to use another dish towel on top, as well.

5. Storing

Once your fruits and vegetables are all dry, you need to store them properly to achieve the best shelf life.

  • Things like leafy greens should be wrapped in paper towels and place inside a large storage bag in the refrigerator.
  • Apples should be kept in the refrigerator if you want them to last longer than a few days.
  • Peaches and pears should be kept at room temperature.
  • Bananas should be stored at room temperature.
  • Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature unless they have been partially used – they would then need to be stored in the refrigerator.

Although it is not absolutely necessary to clean your fruits and vegetables this way, it is highly recommended. Anything you can do to keep things like pesticides and dirt out of your body is a good thing to do.

This is an easy (and quick!) way that I clean my produce every week. It takes me no more than 20 minutes to clean everything.

How do you clean your fruits and veggies each week?

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  1. Thanks for providing great tips here!

    When you can take advantage of a clearance sale do it.

    I always pick up the 50% off bananas at Superstore – great for breads or muffins.

  2. As a microbiologist let me suggest that soaking fruits and veggies is a bad idea as it leads to cross contamination. ie if one strawberry is contaminated they all will be. Washing under running water is a great tip. Studies have shown plain water to be as effective as many “fruit and veggie” washes. I dont know why people spend money on that. Antimicrobial soap is another pet peeve of mine

  3. Tara says:

    Wow! Thanks! A lot of work… lol!

  4. Michelle says:

    This is really interesting and I’m going to try to follow it.

  5. Cassie says:

    Steve – I think reduced bananas are my favourite. I love using them for breads and muffins as well. Mmmm yum!

    pawsitivewife – I definetely don’t suggest letting them soak for too long, just a few minutes.

    Tara – It’s not too bad.. but it is a pain if you have many fruits & veggies to wash at one time! 😛

    Michelle – Thanks 🙂

  6. Theresa says:

    I rinse mine quickly and take my chances. Made it 36 years so far!! 🙂
    Thanks for the great tips.

  7. teachermum says:

    Theresa, I’ve made it to 51 just by rinsing! I can’t even imagine trimming stems/chopping fruit and then washing, yuck! The only thing I might take soap to (non-antibacterial, thank you, which is getting harder and harder to find!) is an apple to eat in hand, in hopes of getting some wax off…but I think I’m dreaming there. Shining it on my shirt seems to work just the same…Market apples are at least wax free, but they are so expensive and the market is only open on certain days.

    I find many tender fruits last longer in the fridge if they are NOT washed for storage ie strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and definitely blueberries. You aren’t even supposed to wash blueberries before you freeze them.

    I am curious what the lemon juice and salt actually do, you know, scientifically.


  8. Anna says:

    I use plain white vinegar. It definitely makes the strawberries last longer. But I wash my berries before I prep them… otherwise I worry they will soak up too much water. It definitely helps them last longer.

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