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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to Properly Wash Fruit & Veggies

I found a new blog called Homemade Baby Food Recipes and this was one of the first articles I read.  I knew most of them, but some of them were new to me, like- "swishing" the leafy greens in  a bowl of water, and to wash fruits and veggies before eating NOT before storing.

Washing fruits and vegetables before you prepare them for your baby is an important part of ensuring they’re safe for him to eat. Washing produce removes excess soil, bacteria from handling and some pesticide residues (although it is often safer to peel some produce items if not organic – please see this page for more information).
Commercially made solutions for washing produce tend to be expensive – and as their effectiveness has never been proved, they’re really not necessary.
Fresh, running, cool drinking water is perfectly adequate for washing fruits and vegetables using the following methods…
For small items (like berries, green beans etc)…
Put the produce in a colander and rinse thoroughly, over the sink, under cold running water. Drain on paper towel.
For large items (like apples, potatoes etc)…
Hold under running water and scrub with a soft brush. This is particularly important for fruits and vegetables with bumpy surfaces, which are more likely to hold on to dirt, or with waxed skins which may trap bacteria and pesticide residues.
To wash leafy vegetables…
Dispose of the outer leaves, then cut the vegetables in half and hold under running water, so the water penetrates between the layers. You can also try filling a large bowl with water and ’swishing’ the halves around, which is an effective way to remove the dirt. Do hold the leaves under a running tap afterwards, however, to make sure all dirt has been completely washed away.

More tips for washing fruits and vegetables for your baby

  • Don’t use any type of soap, detergent or bleach to wash produce as it may leave a harmful residue.
  • If you’d really feel better using some form of cleaning agent, try diluting white vinegar with water and using the solution to rinse your produce.
  • Be sure to wash the outer skin of ALL produce, including items like bananas, avocados and melons. You may not be consuming the skin… but washing it prevents your spreading bacteria from the skin of the produce to the flesh as you cut it.
  • Even though pesticide residues may be less of a concern with organic produce, you still need to consider the possibility of bacterial contamination. So be sure to wash all produce – organic or otherwise.
  • Wash produce before you use it, NOT before you store it. This is because many fruits and vegetables will rot more quickly if washed before storage.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands before washing fruits and vegetables… your hands can be a source of bacteria, too!
  • Don’t soak fruits and vegetables as a means of washing them, because it may cause a loss of water soluble nutrients.
What about foods like mixed salad leaves, which are marked ‘washed and ready to eat’?
The FDA says that it is fine to eat these foods without washing them again – but if the food is for our little ones, we wash it again… just to be on the safe side!

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