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According to this site, rubbing fruits and vegetables briskly with clean running water can remove dirt and surface microorganism. The same site states that “government data shows that almost all fresh fruits and vegetables have either no pesticide residue or residues below established tolerance levels. ”
Most common method of washing vegetables is by using clean water. However, it is interesting to note that for broccoli, salt is used to soak it to remove insects. To read the listing of how to wash different types of vegetables, please read full answer.
” Wash Fruits and Vegetables – Why and How
Fresh produce has a natural protective coating that keeps in moisture and freshness. Whether produce comes from your garden or from the store, it should always be washed just before serving. Washing before storing produce will cause it to spoil faster.
Why does some produce, such as apples and cucumbers, arrive at the store with a wax coating?
Waxes are applied to help retain moisture, which keeps the produce firm and crisp. Since the U.S. government regulates waxes for safety, they are not harmful if eaten. Waxes cannot be removed by washing. If you prefer not to consume waxes, purchase unwaxed items or peel the produce before serving.
What about pesticide residues?
Recent government data shows that almost all fresh fruits and vegetables have either no pesticide residue or residues below established tolerance levels.
Here’s how to wash fresh produce:
Before working with any foods, hands should be washed with soap and water. Also, make sure preparation areas are sanitary.
Under clean, running water, rub fruits and vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms.
Wash produce just before serving – not before storing, as washing will cause produce to spoil faster.
Produce with a firm skin or hard rind like carrots, potatoes, melons or squash may be scrubbed with a vegetable brush and water.
Discard the outer leaves of leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage before washing.
Always wash squash and melons, even if you don’t eat the rind or skin because when cut, dirt or bacteria that is on the outer surface can be transferred to the inner flesh.
DO NOT wash produce with detergent or bleach solutions. Fruits and vegetables are porous and can absorb the detergent or bleach, which is not intended for use on foods and consuming them on fruits and vegetables have the potential to make you sick.
Commercial produce sprays or washes are available in some supermarkets. These are currently being studied and in some cases may help remove some soil, surface microbes and pesticides. Extension, USDA, or FDA does not recommend these sprays or washes. No washing method completely removes or kills all microbes, which may be present on the produce. Washing produce with tap water is usually adequate. Users of commercial produce washes are advised to consider the cost of the product versus the potential benefit.”
(Source: www.extension.umn.edu/info-u/nutrition/BJ779.html )
In regards to the question, Is salt useful? :
Most common method of washing vegetables is by using clean water. Below are examples of how to wash different types of vegetables. It is interesting to note that for brocoli, salt is used to soak it to remove insects.
“AsparagusSelect young, tender stalks with compact tips. Remove or break off tough ends and scales. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cut to fit containers or in 2-inch lengths. Blanch small stalks 2 minutes in boiling water, medium stalks 3 minutes and large stalks 4 minutes. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.
Select young, tender stringless beans. Wash thoroughly, remove ends, sort for size. Cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces, leave whole, or slice into lengthwise strips. Water blanch 3 minutes. Chill and drain. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.
Select well-filled pods containing green beans. Wash, shell and sort. Water blanch 2 to 4 minutes, depending on size. Cool and drain dry. Tray pack or dry pack with headspace.
Beans, Soybeans, Green
Select firm, well-filled, bright green pods. Wash. Water blanch 5 minutes. Cool and drain. Squeeze soybeans out of pods. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.
Select beets 3 inches in diameter or less. Wash; sort for size. Remove tops, leaving 1/2-inch stems. Cook in boiling water until tender—25 to 30 minutes for small beets, 45 to 50 minutes for medium-sized beets. Cool and drain; peel, slice or cube. Dry pack with headspace or tray pack.
Select tender dark green stalks. Wash, peel and trim stalks. To remove insects from heads, soak 30 minutes in salt solution -4 teaspoons salt per gallon water. Rinse and drain. Split lengthwise into pieces not more than 1-1/2 inches across. Blanch in steam 5 minutes or boiling water 3 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry or tray pack without headspace.
Select green, firm and compact heads. Wash and trim. Soak in salt solution (see broccoli) 30 minutes to drive out insects. Rinse and drain. Water blanch 3 to 5 minutes depending on size of head. Cool and drain. Dry or tray pack without headspace .”
For a complete listing of vegetables, please go to:
Sites are last accessed on 19 September 2007.
Answered by Kweh Soon Huat, Librarian, Adult and Young People’s Services
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