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The Importance of Washing Fruits and Vegetables

Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are waxed to help retain moisture, prevent bruising and increase shelf life.  That wax can also trap bacteria beneath it.  While the wax itself may be natural -- most often carnauba wax from the carnauba palm tree -- it may be mixed with other compounds such as ethyl alcohol (aka grain alcohol) which is intoxicating.

It’s best to remove as much of the wax and disinfect the fruit or vegetable skin.  Even if you plan to skin the fruit or vegetable, cutting into unwashed fruits and vegetables can transfer surface contaminants from the outside to the inside.  Commonly waxed vegetables and fruits include cucumbers, potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, apples, lemons, limes and oranges.

While organic fruits and vegetables are not waxed, surface contaminants can still be present.  ALL fruits and vegetables should be washed or soaked in water, or cleaned with a fruit/vegetable wash.

There are several commercial fruit and vegetable washes on the market.  However, you can make your own using the recipe below.

Fruit and Vegetable Wash
1 organic lemon
2-3 teaspoons of baking soda
5¼ cups of distilled water
¼ cup organic white vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt

1. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl
2. Add the baking soda and 1 cup of water to the lemon juice
3. Stir thoroughly, then transfer the solution to a spray bottle
4. In another bowl, put 4¼ cups of water, the vinegar and sea salt
5. Spray the wash on the fruits and/or vegetables and place in the bowl for 30 minutes
6. Wipe the fruits/vegetables off, wrap them in a towel and store them in the refrigerator
Note: After washing, I refrigerate my fruits/vegetables in Debbie Meyer GreenBags™

Did you know...

♦ the acetic acid in vinegar kills bacteria and helps dissolve wax and pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables
♦ the citric acid in lemons is an effective disinfectant
♦ distilled water is filtered to remove contaminants
♦ baking soda is a natural deodorizer and scrub
♦ sea salt helps break down grease and wax

Posted in Food & Recipes

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