How To Properly Clean Produce

Anyone who likes to cook, and even some of those that don’t, rely on fresh fruits and vegetables as staple ingredients.  However, have you ever thought of the journey that most produce makes from the farm to your table?  Yeah, we didn’t think so.

That is why it is crucial that you wash your produce when you get it home, but what is the best method to achieve this?  There are a plethora of ideas on how to get this done.

One of the common beliefs is that the best method for cleaning produce is by using a produce spray or soap.  However, the FDA actually says that the washing of produce with soap or detergent is not recommended. 

The CDC also recommends against the washing of produce with soap or detergent.  The main reason is that the FDA has not fully evaluated the effects of residue left on the produce that may be ingested.

Another well-held belief is that by the use of dilute of bleach, any germs present on the produce will be killed off.  This is pretty much true, as bleach does destroy most harmful microorganisms.

Image: The Kitchn

However, bleach should never be digested for any reason or in any form.  As such, never wash your produce with bleach, diluted or not.

The CDC has guidelines on how to adequately clean fruits and produce.  With fruits, you should thoroughly wash and scrub the skin of the fruit. 

Even if you are not planning on eating the skin or peel, germs are able to permeate the skin of the fruit as well as get into the fruit when you cut into or slice it.

For produce, such as leafy greens, it is recommended that you wash the produce in a bowl of cold water, swishing it around vigorously, lifting it out, and draining in a colander.  Repeat this process as needed.