Do you usually wash your produce by rinsing it under cold, running water? Most people do. This method works well to remove some of the pesticide residues from some forms of produce. Scientists at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station found that washing produce with running water reduced the amount of pesticide residue for 9 of the 12 tested pesticides.
So, running water can work, but what about using products called “produce cleaners?” Should you use them? Research has shown that most commercial produce cleaners are no more effective than plain water.
There are all kinds of chemicals being used for everyday produce, and sadly, the only way to truly eat without worry is with organic fruits and vegetables. That can sadly be costly and difficult for those of us trying to live on a budget and for others, there are times when organic vegetables are just simply not available.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled some of the best ways to clean your vegetables to live a healthy life!
Cold Water Rinse
The simplest and easiest way is with a cold water rinse and scrub! According to various reports, 75% to 80% of pesticide residue can be removed through simple cold water rinsing. Studies indicate that temperature of the water does not make a difference in how clean vegetables came out, friction is the most important! Leafy vegetables and fruits are recommended to need multiple rinses, so get washing on those vegetables.
Salt Water Soak
A salt water rinse might be a helpful way to remove more residue. While this won’t work for “fragile fruits” (most notably berries), this is a great way to eliminate pesticides that might hide in the crevices. Simply take two teaspoons of salt into four cups of warm water and stir to dissolve, and soak the produce for 30 to 60 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
This is another soak that works a lot like the salt water soak noted above. If you’re out of vinegar, lemon juice will also work great! Similar to the salt water solution, fill a bowl with four cups of water and one cup of vinegar. Keep the fruit or veggies submerged for 30-60 minutes and then rinse with cold water.
This method also helps keep your food fresher for longer, so it’s a win-win all around!
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This is for those of you on-the-go! Take a spray bottle and mix one tablespoon of lemon juice, two tablespoons of white vinegar and one cup of water. Rub this onto your produce for 30 seconds before rinsing through cold water. This one is short and simple and easy to do!
Get Rid of the Outer Layer
This is unfortunately not possible with every type of produce out there, but removing the outer layers can be a big help in avoiding eating the areas affected for residue. Peel the skin when you can, and cut the tops and outer sections of leafy vegetables to lower the rate of pesticides and bacteria.
Some people might start thinking that soap might be a good alternative, but this is far from the truth. The final advice for removing pesticides is to avoid adding chemicals. Produce can be water-soluble and these chemicals can actually be absorbed through the skin. Avoid this at all costs!
While it’s impossible to get rid of all of the pesticides, little things here and there can help make healthy eating a little bit better. We can’t always eat organic, but these tips and tricks can help reduce any chemical intake we may have!