Fruits and vegetables can have harmful pesticides, waxes, critters (including bugs), and germs. And that's why it's so important to wash them thoroughly before eating them! We show you the best and easiest ways to wash your produce!
Nothing like biting into a crisp, sweet red apple – But have you ever thought about what’s lurking on the peel, and how many surfaces your apple touched before it landed in your hands?
This is in no way intended to scare you, we know that fruits and vegetables are delicious and crucial to a healthy diet! But did you know that how you wash and prepare them is crucial to your health? Improper washing or not washing your produce at all could potentially increase your risk of food related illnesses and sickness.
Whether you purchase your produce from the local grocery store, a farmers market, or you grow them yourself in your own garden, properly washing your vegetables and fruits is important.
How Dirty Are Fruits and Vegetables?
Wondering just how dirty fruits and vegetables are? If you purchase your produce from the grocery store, chances are it's pretty dirty. Grown in a field, picked and then packed for delivery to the store, unpacked and placed on display by grocery store employees, and then handled by customers, before you pick your perfect plum or head of lettuce and throw it into your cart or basket (sometimes without a bag!), and take it home to store in your fridge – your fruits and vegetables go on a long journey before they reach your home!
Suddenly your unwashed kale salad doesn't sound too appealing eh? Produce can have pesticide residue, bacteria, and debris & dirt lurking on it, which is why it is important to wash your produce properly.
Pesticide Residue: The intended purpose of pesticides is to manage and minimize crop damage caused by pests such as insects and weeds. While they were created to help maintain the health and quality of crops so that there is enough to feed the population, these heavy chemicals can have negative effects on our health.
Pesticides do break down over time before the intended consumption, however they can still remain on your produce by the time they end up in your hands. Not washing your produce or incorrectly washing it can leave pesticide residue on your fruits and vegetables. Overtime pesticide exposure can increase your chances of developing cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and can also cause reproductive disorders, resulting in infertility, miscarriage, or a number of developmental defects in unborn babies.
Dirt & Debris: I mean, it makes sense, your produce comes from the ground – either above or below it, so some soil, sand, and dirt remnants on your lettuce or carrots can be expected. Now sand and soil aren't necessarily harmful to your health, but it may leave you with a gritty feeling or not-so-great taste in your mouth. Insects can also be found deep within the leaves or layers of your produce, especially leafy greens or anything with stalks and stems, where it's easy to hide.
Bacteria & Viruses: Here’s something you may not have known . . . fruits and vegetables carry an outstanding amount of different kinds of bacteria – and while not all of them are pathogenic (disease-causing), some of them can be, like the Norovirus and other foodborne viruses. Washing your fruits and vegetables properly can help to reduce bacteria and virus contamination.
How to Wash Your Produce Properly
Not to further freak you out, but how you wash your fruits and vegetables matter – and chances are, you’ve been told the wrong information. So we’re here to clear up all the myths and misconceptions of produce washing!
Properly washing your produce not only makes your fruits and vegetables taste better, it also minimizes your risk of food-borne illnesses and reduces your exposure to pesticides and bacteria. By washing your fruits and vegetables correctly, this means you are practising good health hygiene and food safety!