Healthy ritual: Cleaning fruits and veggies

Fruits and vegetables, rich in vitamins, potas...

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.