We get it- vegetables and fruits are good for us. But do you know that when you bring these healthy foods home from the store, the produce isn’t the only thing that could be winding up on your plate?
From the time of harvest to the menu… a lot can happen. Check the label and see where some of your produce was grown. How far as this item traveled? How exactly was it handled? Do you really know?
Produce can become infected with harmful bacteria in many ways- contaminations during harvest, through poor hygiene, improper storage, etc. Another big pest to our health is pesticides. Pesticides are sprayed on millions of farmland each year. These leach from the soil and into the food. In some cases they’re sprayed directly onto the vegetables and fruits, leaving behind pesticide residue. While there are “limitations” to how much of the chemicals are used, legal ≠ safe.
Not to mention…have you ever watched someone sneeze on their hand and then proceed to pick out the best looking apple in the produce section? I HAVE. It’s gross.
One way to kill off potential bacteria or germs hanging around on produce is by giving them a good clean. I prefer to soak my produce prior to cooking when I can!
By soaking/cleaning produce, you will…
– Minimizes the chance of getting sick from yucky bacteria
– Get rid of any loose dirt or bugs hanging out in there
– Reduce the amount of pesticide residue
– Maximize the freshness of produce (less waste!).
As I started my journey with healing leaky gut syndrome, I decided to take the next step and actually soak and clean produce. A few minutes + a little intention gives me more peace of mind. There are handfuls of veggie-wash products out there nowadays but I like to keep things simple. I wanted to share how I soak and clean fruits and veggies by using one ingredient I almost always have on hand. It also saves money as opposed to buying specific cleaning products
What’s better than saving money + having peace of mind + and eliminating potentially harmful junk?!
All you’ll need is some apple cider vinegar and a bowl of water for soaking (or use a clean sink). If I have it, I’ll add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract (it’s a good anti-microbial).
1. Add 1/4 – 1/3 cup of ACV to the container of water (note: the amount will depend on how big of a batch you’re soaking).
2. Add in your produce (it’s ideal for the liquid to cover the produce).
3. Allow the produce to soak for 5-10 minutes (except softer fruits like *raspberries. Keep an eye on these as they’ll get mushy quickly. I usually soak these for 3-5 minutes).
4. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Once dried, store the produce as needed. (Tips: Storing the berries and cut up veggie in sealed glass jars to keep longer).
Q: Do you taste the ACV on veggies/fruits after they’re done soaking?
A. Nope! Not after it’s rinsed.
Q: When do you soak/clean your produce?
A. It depends on what I am using and when I’m using it. I normally try to soak produce just prior to cooking. If I’m meal prepping snack or readily-available things I know my family will eat within two days (like grapes or sliced cucumber), I’ll soak smaller batches, dry thoroughly, and then store in a mason jar in the fridge
Q: How do these ingredients help clean the produce?
A: The apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps to cut back any bacteria, can kill viruses, and is a great non-toxic option.
Q: Can I use white vinegar instead of ACV?
A: Yes, this comes down to preference. White vinegar is made from cor ( the corn is distilled into corn alcohol and then mixed with water and fermented into vinegar).
I have a mild corn allergy and prefer apple cider vinegar (which is from apples).
Q: Do I need to clean my produce if it’s organic?
A: Yes! Organic doesn’t mean entirely pesticide-free (the chemicals used cannot be synthetic or man-made!). Not to mention we don’t always know what happens during transit, shipping, stocking, and handling (like someone sneezing on their hand and going through the fruit bin! GROSS).
Q: I use water to wash my produce…is that enough?
A: I highly suggest using something “stronger” to help eliminate possible contaminants when you can.