We already know that fruits and vegetables pass through multiple hands before they reach us, but did you know that they can be a breeding ground for different types of bacteria, viruses and fungi? Unfortunately, in our experience, cleaning your produce with plain water isn’t enough to remove these contaminants. We’ve tried other home remedies like washing vegetables with baking soda and vinegar as well, but even they aren’t effective in removing adulterants that might be present on the produce. This leads us to the conclusion that there is no one solution to the problem, and we have to look at it from a holistic point of view. Therefore, here are 5 things that you should keep in mind when disinfecting your fruits and vegetables once you get them home.
1) Wash Your Hands Thoroughly
In order to prevent any accidental transfer of germs to the produce, wash your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds before you handle fresh fruits and vegetables. In our experience, washing your hands after cleaning the fruits and vegetables is equally important.
2) Separate the Fruits and Vegetables to Follow the Right Method of Cleaning
We’ve learnt that not all fruits and vegetables have the same type of skin and firmness and therefore need to be separated into categories in the pre-wash stage. We typically divide fruits and vegetables into: firm produce, delicate produce and green leafy vegetables. Washing with water before using a fruit and vegetable cleaner helps get rid of dirt and dust on the surface of fruits and vegetables. Here are some ways to pre-wash your produce:
Scrub firm vegetables and fruits like potatoes, oranges, lemons etc. with a brush that has soft bristles under running water. This will help remove any residues in their pores.
For delicate produce like tomatoes and mushrooms, gently rub them under tap water using your fingers.
In case of leafy vegetables like cabbage and lettuce, you need to get rid of their outer layer of leaves first. At the same time, throw away all discoloured or wilted leaves, and then begin washing.
3) Use a Natural Fruit and Vegetable Cleaner
We’re slowly and steadily becoming more eco-conscious as consumers and looking to steer clear of harsh chemicals as much as we can, especially with regards to our food. Also as parents, we are extra cautious about what we feed to our kids . We’ve learnt that the skin of fruits and vegetables is extremely porous and therefore we need to be conscious of what we wash them with. This is why we have been looking for natural cleaning agents in the market.
Having used Nature Protect’s Fruit and Vegetable Cleaner, we highly recommend it because it is free of harsh chemicals and powered by plant-based actives like Neem, Tulsi, Lemon and Citrus. Neem is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties and is a natural fruit and vegetable disinfectant. What we love about the cleaner is that it has no chlorine, bleach, alcohol or other harmful chemicals. We have also noticed that our fruits and vegetables have stayed fresh for longer after using this cleaner. It is simple to use, convenient and an effective solution for disinfecting your fruits and vegetables! You just need to follow the instructions on the packaging.
4) Keep Your Kitchen Counters & Utensils Spotless
Our experience has taught us that it is critical to clean the cutting boards, utensils and the countertop after peeling and prior to chopping and cutting of your fruits and vegetables. It has helped us prevent contamination of produce from the inside during the peeling and cutting process. This is an important step that adds to the effectiveness of using a fruit and vegetable wash.
In case you’re also eating meats and other non-vegetarian foods, make sure you use a separate set of knives, chopping boards and so on. Like other utensils, these too need to be washed thoroughly using dishwash gel and hot water after use.
5) Make Sure Your Storage Area is Clean
In most cases, we store vegetables in the refrigerator, so it’s important to make sure that you clean your fridge frequently and throw away all old, rotting and unwanted items. This will allow you to make space to store the newly bought fruits and vegetables without them coming into contact with anything that could potentially carry germs. Once you take your produce out from the fridge for cooking, do remember to wash it with a fruit and vegetable cleaner before cooking/consumption.
Some fruits and vegetables can also be stored in baskets and on vegetable stacks. These also need to be cleaned and/or sprayed with disinfectant spray to ensure they’re free of dust, germs and bacteria.
Follow these easy tips to ensure that you and your family are consuming clean and hygienic food at all times.