Friday, July 15, 2011

How To Wash Your Produce and Remove Pesticides

Photo by Dan4th

I have a confession to make. I don't always buy organic produce. In fact I usually don't.

It's not because I think organic isn't worth it. I love organic. I really really want to buy organic.

We can't afford it right now.

So in order to try and reduce our family's pesticide exposure I always wash the produce very well. Studies show that you can reduce pesticide residue by up to 90% by washing the produce. Of course you will not be able to get rid of all the pesticides. Organic is the only way to be completely pesticide free

Washing also cleanses your food of waxes and bacteria. Think about how many hands come into contact with your fruits and vegetable before they get to you!

Unfortunately a quick rinse in the sink won't due. Pesticides are made to withstand the rain so your going to need more than just plain water to break them down.

You can try the many produce washes sold at the grocery store. But it's easy to make one yourself from ingredients you probably already have on hand.

This is the one I use from Dr. Oz

Produce Wash

1 cup water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 of a lemon

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl. The baking soda and vinegar will react when you mix them together so make sure there is plenty of room in your bowl for the resulting foam. Transfer mixture to a spray bottle.

To use spray on produce and let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub for at least 30 seconds. Use a veggie scrub brush if the produce can withstand it. Rinse in running water.

For very delicate foods like berries you can skip the scrubbing. Just rinse in a colander after the solution has set for 5 minutes.

To avoid early spoilage wash produce just before use.

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  1. Hi Kara,

    Does the vinegar change the taste of the produce?


  2. yeah, that was my question. does the vinegar change the taste?

  3. I've never noticed any taste from the vinegar. Rinse well and it all comes right off.

  4. I assume this lasts for a while in the bottle? thanks, simone.

  5. I've never noticed it going bad on me. It takes me about a month to use it up. I don't think any bacteria could survive with all the vinegar.

    That's just from my experience and my best guess though. It has actually never occurred to me that it could go bad. Great question!

  6. Do you use this rinse on leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, etc.), as well? Normally I try to buy those as organic, but no matter what sort I buy, I just soak them in water for a few minutes and then rinse a few times and drain them in a salad spinner. I'm trying to imagine how this would work with such vegetables.

  7. Hi Kurt!
    I lay the greens out on a paper towel and spray them. After they have set 5 minutes I will gently rinse them in a colander.

  8. Thanks! Very good suggestion you made for a blended coffee drink here, by the way. I'm looking forward to trying that, too!

  9. Kurt- I hope you like the coffee drink. I think it's so good I have to stop myself from making it everyday!

  10. When you say "1/2 lemon", does that mean the "juice of 1/2 lemon"?
    Thank you for sharing. I have a 15 month old toddler and is currently pregnant. So we are trying to be as conscious about what we ingest within reason (budget). It's good to know that I can clean the fruits/vegetables we eat (especially when it's salad form).

  11. I was curious about the 1/2 of lemon as well. Is that the juice of 1/2 a lemon??? I have a Blendtec and can pulverize the entire lemon. Just curious if there are any antibacterial properties in the rind of the fruit as well. Other veggie washes I have used from the grocery store I have added to water to wash leafy greens and berries. Have you done that with this mixture too or would it dilute it too much?? Thank you for all your insightful knowledge.

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  16. Just to make you feel a bit better--organic does NOT mean pesticide free. There are a lot of pesticides that are completely acceptable in the organic world, and often they have to use more of the pesticide to get the desired effects.

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  44. Of course the baking soda and vinegar will react! And will CANCEL EACH OTHER producing carbon dioxide and sodium acetate. How come so many sites have this?

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