Washing Your Produce!
Ever heard a little dirt never hurt? Well, it's time to reconsider. The FDA estimates that 48 million people become sick each year by pathogens found on food sources. If you've always been a strong advocate for produce washing, then great! Here's a quick refresher or proper protocol for the newbies.
1. Make sure to wash your hands before and after preparing fresh produce for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water.
2. Observe produce for any damaged or discolored areas, and remove them via knife or other tool.
3. Always rinse the produce first before peeling it to avoid bacteria being transferred to utensils.
4. Thoroughly rub the produce under running water, preferably purified water.
5. You may wish to use a scrub brush for hardy produce.
6. You may also want to soak produce that has a lot surface area where your fingers or brush can't reach, such as broccoli and lettuce. It's best to soak for a minute or two.
7. For fragile produce such as berries, it's best to put them in a colander and spray them with water.
8. Consider drying the produce with a cloth to help remove any remaining pathogens and gritty deposits.
9. Wash all utensils used and counter tops with hot, soapy water.
It's best to use purified water when washing your produce, but cool tap water will also suffice. Soap and detergents are necessary for washing, and should be avoided. Also you may find products used specifically for produce washing, but these aren't necessary because water alone is effective at removing surface residues. Washing your produce doesn't require much energy or time, and can help prevent you from getting sick!