How to Wash your Produce with Simple ingredients, to keep your recipes clean and clear of unwanted contaminants
Cobblestone soups are not only healthy and organic, but we have adopted natural cleaning practices to ensure the produce going into the kettle is free of contaminants.
Fruits and vegetables are known for their critical sources of nutrients, which are needed for energy and longevity as well as being a catalyst for reducing the risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes and other conditions.
Even if locally grown and organic, beautifully displayed and seemingly clean produce may pass through numerous hands and environments to get to your table – do you ever wonder what passed across the conveyor belt before your produce?? In addition to being nutrition powerhouses, fruits and vegetables may come along with pesticides and invisible bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and E.coli. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “nearly half of foodborne illnesses are caused by germs on fresh produce”. People most at risk for foodborne illness as those with weakened immunes systems, children, and the elderly. Mild symptoms may include stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea.
While this is a bit scary, the risk of food born illnesses can be greatly reduced by thoroughly washing produce to remove contaminants from your fruits and vegetables; this means scrub/rub fruits and vegetables under running water – even if you do not plan to eat the peel—so dirt and germs on the surface do not get inside when you cut. To reduce risk even more, incorporate ingredients – most likely sitting in your cupboard – to wash away contaminants.
Three suggestions of cleaning solutions are included below:
- A vinegar/water solution (bacteria removal): 1 cup of white vinegar per quart of water, soak fruits and vegetable for 5 minutes in the vinegar solution, rinse under running water, done.
Vinegar contains acetic acid, which kills bacteria and removes pesticide residues. Additionally, vinegar is safe for consumption. According to Livestrong, The University of Minnesota recommends using a vinegar/water mix to kill bacteria on produce. “A study published in 2003 in the “Journal of Food Protection” found that washing apples with a vinegar and water solution reduced salmonella on the outer skin significantly more than washing with water alone.” Jack Bishop, editor of “Cook’s Illustrated,” performed a similar experiment, and found that vinegar killed approximately 98 percent of bacteria on the surface of fresh fruits and vegetables.”
2. Baking soda/water solution (pesticide removal): 2 teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water, soak fruits and vegetables for 2 to 4 minutes, scrub, rinse under running water, done.
According to the Consumer Reports’ site (very interesting article) a new study from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, suggest a baking soda and water solution for removing pesticides from produce.
3. Grapefruit seed extract/water solution (Bacterial removal): 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract per 1 quart of water, stir, soak fruits and vegetables for 5 to 8 minutes, scrub, rinse under running water, done.
Grapefruit seed extract oil is the liquid produced from the membrane, pulp and seeds of grapefruit. GSE is commonly reported to have a powerful antimicrobial activity in relation to the preservation of vegetables and fruits. According to academic studies, GSE extract “exhibited the strongest antimicrobial effect against Salmonella” (Cvetnic). It was noted that results vary depending on the quality of the GSE source (manufacturer).
Note: If washing to remove bacteria and pesticides, baking soda and vinegar can be mixed. Ingredient to water proportions are “suggested” ratios.
Cvetnic, S Vladimir-Knezevic – Acta Pharm, 2004 – hrcak.srce.hr [PDF] Antimicrobial activity of grapefruit seed and pulp ethanolic extract