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Dr Russ Blog - Washing Produce - What's Best?
Washing Produce - What's Best?
Created on 4/25/2014

T sent in a great question: "What is the best way to wash produce?"

Whether purchased from the shelves, picked out from a farmer's market, or grown in your personal garden, it's important to clean vegetables and fruits before using them in dishes and eating them.

Even bagged greens should be cleaned before they are used.

Which leads us back to T's question - what is the best way to clean vegetables and fruits?

The answer: place your produce under cool, clean running water.

Yup. Simple and very effective.

There are plenty of products out there that either entice or frighten us into buying them to clean our produce - sprays, washes, you name it.

And most experts believe they are not necessary, in most instances not even helpful.

You may be tempted to simply fill your sink with water and leave the produce in there to soak, but many believe that technique to be less than helpful, since the sink may harbor microorganisms, too.

Others say you should consider using a little bit of vinegar mixed in water, either as a spray or wash. This is somewhat controversial, with most experts saying it is not necessary, or that it may alter the taste of your food.

What everyone agrees on, however, is that produce should be washed before using. Even if the produce is bagged, as with some salad greens; even if the food is organic; even if the label says "pre-washed".

Timing is important, too - wash your vegetables and fruit under cool, running water just before using them.

If you wash them right after purchase and then store them for use another day, the moisture left on the foods may promote spoilage and even the growth of microbes.

And dont forget to dry off your produce with a paper towel after the 1-2 minute wash under the faucet.

The FDA and Colorado State University Extension both offer good tips about the safe care and storage of vegetables and fruits - click on the links below for more information.

It's that time of the year when a wider array of delicious, brightly colored vegetables and fruits are becoming readily available - they're tasty, they're fun -

and they should be washed properly before we enjoy them. Thanks for reminding us, T!

Be well.
Dr. Russ

** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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