Kitchen Tips: DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash

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Kitchen Tips: DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

Did you know that most chemicals used on produce won’t be washed off with a simple rinsing under water? While it would be ideal to only purchase organically grown produce, or to grow your own, that isn’t always an option. This solution is a frugal alternative when 100% organic foods are not available. I still use this solution on the organic foods I buy, as it does a much better job of washing than water alone.

The acid in plain white vinegar kills bacteria and helps to dissolve the wax and pesticide residues found on the skins of many fruits and vegetables. As an added bonus, this will help some fruits last longer in addition to making them a healthier option to eat.

I KNOW that this works, because the water is dirty after the produce has soaked and the apples and grapes have a slight white sheen on them from where the shiny wax had been.

DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash
(printable directions)

Step 1: Make sure your kitchen sink is clean or place a large mixing bowl in the sink.
Step 2: Add the produce to the sink and cover with cold water. (Don’t overcrowd the sink.)
Step 3: Add 1-2 cups of plain white vinegar and soak for 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse well.

I’ve used this method for just about every fruit and vegetable we eat. As long as you rinse well, there isn’t a bit of a vinegary taste on the produce. If some of the fruits bob to the top (like the apples) just swirl them around in the water and rub gently with your fingertips for a few moments.

For washing LETTUCES and other GREENS: I only soak greens for a minute or two and then I rinse very well. Be careful to rinse them thoroughly and then spin them or pat them dry. Do not put the lettuces away wet or they won’t last long. I store them in airtight containers lined with paper towels or in ziploc bags with paper towels, with all of the air pressed out.

For washing BERRIES (which tend to be more delicate): I place them in a large mixing bowl and then cover with cold water plus 1 cup of vinegar. I swirl them around a bit with my hands (because they tend to float to the top), letting them soak for 5 minutes or so. Drain the water off of them and rinse well. The vinegar and water solution helps destroy bacteria and mold spores, helping the berries last longer. When they are thoroughly rinsed, spread them out on a clean towel or papertowels and gently pat dry.

If I am washing raspberries or blackberries, I prefer to let them air dry. I’d rather have them slightly wet going into the refrigerator versus mushed from too much pressure attempting to dry them. (You can also spin them in a salad spinner with a few paper towels.) When they are mostly dry, place them in a paper-towel lined airtight container in the refrigerator. My berries tend to last anywhere from one to two weeks on average.

You can also make your own spray solution by combining 3 parts water with one part vinegar. Spray the fruits, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse well before storing.

Kitchen Tips: DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

{originally posted 4-3-13 – recipe notes and photos updated 4-26-15}

ONE YEAR AGO: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples
TWO YEARS AGO: How To Organize Your Refrigerator with Produce Boxes
THREE YEARS AGO: Chicken Marsala

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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