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Learn how to clean different kinds of fruits and vegetables is in this Fareway Cooking Segment

Published: May. 21, 2022 at 10:59 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Whitney Hemmer has tips on how to wash produce in this Fareway Cooking Segment.

Produce washing Q &A

Q: Do I need a fancy produce wash for my fruits and vegetables?

A: According to the Food and Drug Administration, water alone does the job when it comes to cleaning produce. Soap, detergent or commercial produce washes aren’t recommended. You can add ½ cup of distilled vinegar per 1 cup of water followed by a water rinse to reduce bacteria, however it may affect the taste and texture of your produce.

Q: Should I should wash produce as soon as I get home.

A: Wait to wash fruits and vegetables until just before eating or cooking them, especially delicate items like berries or mushrooms. Storing wet fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator is a recipe for mold growth.

Q: Do I have to peel fruits and vegetables with skins?

A: From a nutrition standpoint, the skins of fruits and vegetables typically house vitamins, minerals and fiber. Even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, wash produce before peeling or cutting to avoid transferring bacteria to the inside.

Q: Should I rewash pre-washed produce.

A: If the packaging states “pre-washed” or “ready-to-eat” you can use that item without washing.

Tips for washing fruits and vegetables

  • Cruciferous vegetables (Kale, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower):
    • Separate into leaves or florets and soak them in a large bowl of cold water for 1–2 minutes. Drain leaves or florets in a colander and dry with a paper towel.
  • Firm fruits and vegetables (Green beans, grapes, zucchini, asparagus, cucumber, citrus):
    • Rinse under cold water, scrubbing off any visible dirt or debris. Dry in a colander or with a paper towel.
  • Delicate fruits and vegetables (Berries and mushrooms):
    • Gently rinse under a soft stream of cold water, removing any visible dirt or debris. Spread on a clean towel or paper towel to dry.
  • Root and tuber vegetables (Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, acorn squash):
    • Scrub with a vegetable brush under cold water to remove dirt and debris. Dry using a clean towel or paper towel.

Don’t forget about safe storage, too. Cut produce should be eaten within two hours after you cut, peel, or cook them. Otherwise, store them in the refrigerator, away from raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

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