While organic vegetables do not contain pesticides or other harmful chemicals, they still need to be cleaned well before consuming raw or cooking. It is only natural that they may have bugs or worms on them because they are grown outside and not sprayed with insecticide. In addition, there is always the chance of bird droppings landing on the produce as it grows. You can never be too careful. Here are five ways your organic vegetables can be washed thoroughly to get rid of worms, bugs and other contaminants. These washes can be made using simple ingredients you find around your home. They are both safe and effective and very easy to use.
Rinse them Under Running Water
It can be difficult to get bugs, dirt, and grime out of your leafy greens since there are many crevices and pockets that bugs and dirt can hide in. Running each leaf or group of leaves under running water might get some of it off, but it is not always the most effective way to wash lettuce and other leafy vegetables.
A more effective way to wash these vegetables would be to fill a large pot up with cool water and place the leaves in there. You can then swish them around a bit and allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes. While the vegetables are sitting, the dirt and bugs will settle to the bottom. You can then remove the leaves and run under water quickly to ensure all the grit is gone.
You probably have some white vinegar lying around your kitchen. It is not only great for washing surfaces, but can also be great for washing your organic vegetables. Use one part vinegar to every 3 parts water and pour into a large mixing bowl. Allow your vegetables to soak for a few minutes. Then just rinse them under cool running water to allow the vinegar to wash away. Cook’s Illustrated magazine found that using vinegar and water to wash your veggies kills about 98% of germs and bacteria.
Salt Water Wash
Salt is a natural substance that can get the critters (bugs, worms, etc.) off of your vegetables, and just about everyone has it in their kitchen. Just use 1 teaspoon of table salt for each cup of water and allow your vegetables to soak. Pour the water into a large bowl—however big you need it to be for the vegetables you are washing. Stir it up so the salt dissolves before placing the vegetables into the salt water. After they soak for a few minutes, you can then rinse them off with water from the faucet. Now, you’re ready to eat or cook them.
Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide Spray
Who knew that hydrogen peroxide had more of a purpose than to clean out children’s scrapes and make them wince in pain? You will need two spray bottles. One for vinegar, and the other for the hydrogen peroxide. First, spray your produce with the vinegar, and then spray with the peroxide. Then, rinse the produce thoroughly with water. Not only is this wash good for vegetables, but it can also be used to kill bacteria like E. Coli on meats, too.
Lemon and Vinegar Wash
Another great substance used for cleaning is lemon, and chances are, you have some lemon juice in your refrigerator. If not, it doesn’t hurt to buy a couple of lemons and keep them handy for washing your veggies. In this wash, you can combine a tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 1 cup of cold water in a spray bottle. Spray it onto your organic vegetables, and rinse thoroughly with water before eating or cooking.
All in All
While rinsing your organic vegetables off with running tap water might seem like it is enough since they are without pesticides, there are other things to watch out for before cooking or consuming raw produce. Worms, bugs, bird droppings, and contaminated dirt can affect your health and be very unsightly (and disgusting) on your dinner plate. Using these washes will help to ensure that your produce is clean and ready to go.