While organic vegetables do not contain pesticides or other harmful chemicals, they still need to be washed or cleaned properly before consuming raw or cooking.
It is only natural that they may have critters on them because they are grown outside and not sprayed with insecticides. Besides, there is always the chance of bird droppings landing on crops as they grow.
You can never be too careful. Below we’ll discuss different ways of getting contaminants off garden crops without heading for store-bought veggie washes.
Explore the different ways of cleaning and disinfecting fruits and vegetables naturally to get rid of worms, parasites, bugs, bacteria, and other pollutants.
These solutions can be made using simple ingredients you find around your home. They are both safe and effective and very easy to use.
1. Rinse Them Under Running Water
For those wondering how to get bugs out of vegetables, this is the most old-fashioned way.
I know it can be challenging to get critters and other stuff out of your leafy greens since there are many crevices and pockets that they 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 sanitize all produce.
A better way of washing leafy vegetables like lettuce and kale would be to fill a large pot up with cool water and place the leaves in. Swish around a bit and allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes.
The dirt and parasites will settle at the bottom. Some might even float on top. 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 sanitizing surfaces.
Vinegar contains acetic acid that can kill viruses and bacteria, so its antibacterial properties can remove pathogens that might be present on veggies, fruits, and berries.
Cook’s Illustrated magazine found that using vinegar and water to wash your vegetables kills about 98% of germs and bacteria.
Use one part vinegar to every 3 parts water and pour into a large mixing bowl.
Allow them to soak for a few minutes then rinse them under cool running water.
3. Salt Water
Salt is a natural substance that can kill pests, and just about everyone has it in their kitchen.
Does soaking vegetables in salt water kill bacteria? It might kill some, but not all. Vinegar is more effective at handling that task.
Just use 1 teaspoon of table salt for each cup of water. Pour the water into a large bowl — however big you need it to be for the produce.
Stir it up, so it dissolves before placing them in.
After steeping for a few minutes, you can then rinse them off with fresh water.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Who knew that hydrogen peroxide had more of a purpose than to sterilize children’s scrapes and make them wince in pain? Yes, it’s also good for washing vegetables.
You will need two spray bottles; one for vinegar and the other for peroxide.
First, spray your produce with vinegar, and then with the peroxide. Rinse them thoroughly with water.
Not only is it good for cleaning vegetables, but it can also be used to kill bacteria like E. Coli on meats, too.
Another great substance used for getting rid of germs is lemon, and chances are, you have some of the juice in your refrigerator. If not, it doesn’t hurt to buy a couple and keep them handy.
Combine a tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 1 cup of cold water in a spray bottle.
Spray it onto your vegetables, and rinse thoroughly with water.
6. Baking Soda
Can baking soda remove pesticides? The truth is, most synthetic garden chemicals cannot be washed off because they are applied systematically.
A study, however, carried out by the University of Massachusetts showed that baking soda and water can effectively remove two types of pesticides from the surface of apples.
Due to the findings, it was suggested that the solution can be used for other garden vegetables and fruits because baking soda helps to break up the molecules in insecticides, which can then be washed off.
Here’s how to remove worms from vegetables with baking soda:
Make a homemade solution by dissolving one tablespoon in six cups of water. Soak them for about 20 minutes.
Drain and rinse. Use measurement as a guide for larger batches.
Other Cleaning Approaches
All the home remedies mentioned in this post can be utilized to properly wash broccoli; however, here are three simple methods:
- Steep and swirl in cool water. Warm water may wilt the florets, so cool or room temperature is best. Fill a sink or basin with water and swirl them around to loosen up and get off dirt residues.
- Hold under the pipe. Soak broccoli to loosen up contaminants then run under pipe water. You can hold them in a colander while doing so.
- Dip and rub lightly. While dipping intermediately in water, use your fingers to lightly scrub the florets and stem to get off dirt and grime.
Shake off excess water before storing it. Be careful not to bruise the florets too hard as they might break off.
Hold the stalks under the pipe and let the water beat off any grits.
Lightly rub the asparagus with your fingers. If you have the time, working it stalk by stalk is best.
Finally, snap off tough ends of the stalks and lay your clean asparagus on the counter on kitchen towels. Pat dry, and store.
Cut off the stems and throw them in your compost.
Next, peel off the outer layers of the sprouts as these are the dirtiest parts. Remove any discolored leaves.
Place in lukewarm water for 10 minutes before rinsing again. You can also use any of the above methods instead of pure water.
Knowing how to clean mushrooms properly is vital because they can be filled with mold and other impurities. And because they grow from the soil, dirt splashes might also be on them.
Rinse under cool running water. To be extra careful, dip them in a vinegar solution to kill mold and bacteria.
Shake off excess water and place them on paper towels. Cut off the parts that still have mold-looking residues.
While washing vegetables under running water might seem like it is enough since they are without toxins, knowing other cleaning methods is essential.
There are other things to watch out for before preparing or consuming organic raw produce.
Worms, bugs, bird droppings, mold, contaminated dirt, and viruses (especially with the coronavirus, covid-19 pandemic), can affect your health and be very unsightly (and disgusting) on your dinner plate.
Using these approaches will help to ensure that your food is fit for consumption.