My ritual for cleaning fruits and veggies has become more of an obsession to clean my produce and remove as many pesticide residues, dirt, bugs, etc. as I can. With all of the information about the “Dirty Dozen,” and that I’m not always being able to buy everything organic, I have searched for a healthy, natural way to clean my food while preserving freshness and reducing waste.
The ritual begins once I get my groceries home. I put everything away except the produce, which gets placed on one kitchen counter. I then grab my stash of assorted storage containers, as well as a variety of different sizes of plastic food storage bags. I get two large bowls (mixing bowls work great) and a large colander, and put each bowl in a different side of the sink.
The natural cleaner you ask? Good ole’ baking soda! It works great as a natural produce cleaner, its non-toxic, and best of all, its cheap! It also has been shown to help eradicate cancer-causing fungi – please read the very informative article if you have a moment from Natural News.
Back to the cleaning process. I use a heaping tablespoon of baking soda per large bowl of water. I dissolve the baking soda in the water, and add the fruits and veggies to be cleaned. For example, when I clean grapes, I take them off the vine and soak them in the baking soda-water solution for about 5 minutes. I then strain the grapes in the colander. Next, I fill the second bowl with clean water and soak the grapes for about 3-5 minutes. While they’re soaking, I start a new baking soda/water solution with another group of produce. Since grapes, strawberries, etc. hold a lot of pesticide residues, sometimes I soak them in the baking soda solution twice.
For fruits like apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, and tomatoes, I gently scrub the outside of each fruit with baking soda by sprinkling a little in my hand and massaging. I then soak and rinse.
Other produce that I give the same treatment to include kiwi, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, parsnips, sweet and regular potatoes.
Also, I find produce keeps better and longer if you can dry it before putting into a storage container or bag. I gently wipe or drain things on paper towels then store.