While organic vegetables and fruits do not contain synthetic pesticides, you still need to wash or clean them properly before cooking or eating them.
They may have soil on them. Besides, there is always the chance of bird droppings landing on crops as they grow outside.
You can never be too careful; however, do not use soap to wash vegetables. Instead, explore these natural methods of disinfecting fruits and vegetables to get rid of worms, parasites, bugs, bacteria, and more.
You can make your own fruit and vegetable wash using simple ingredients already at home. Moreover, they are safe, effective, and very easy to use.
Here’s how to clean fruits and vegetables naturally:
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 off of your leafy greens. However, running each leaf or group of leaves under running water might get some of it off, but it is not always the most effective or best way to clean produce properly.
A better way of sanitizing leafy greens like lettuce and kale would be to fill up a large pot with cool water and place the leaves in it. Swish around a bit and allow them to sit for 5 to 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 them under water quickly to ensure all the grit is gone.
You probably have some white vinegar lying around in your kitchen. It is not only great for sanitizing surfaces but also for washing foods.
Vinegar contains acetic acid that can kill some bacteria and viruses, 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 clean vegetables kills about 98% of germs and bacteria .
To use, make a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water.
Pour this homemade fruit and vegetable wash into a large mixing bowl and allow your produce to soak for a few minutes, then rinse under cool running water.
Vinegar is one of the best solutions for cleaning fruits and vegetables at home. It’s a great fruit wash for grapes and strawberries.
You can also use apple cider vinegar to remove wax from apples. Just wipe the apples with it until the wax is gone.
3. Salt Water
Salt can kill certain 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.
Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for each cup of water to sanitize vegetables and fruits. Pour the water into a large bowl—however big you need it to be for the produce.
Stir it up so the salt dissolves before placing your vegetables or fruits in it. After steeping in this homemade fruit and vegetable cleaner solution for a few minutes, you can then rinse the produce off with fresh water.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is also safe for washing produce. You’ll need one tablespoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide per gallon of water.
Next, let the vegetables or fruits soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Afterward, rinse with cold water.
Not only is this DIY veggie wash good for cleaning fruits and vegetables, but it can also be used to kill bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella on countertops .
5. Lemon Juice
Another great substance used for getting rid of germs is lemon juice.
Combine a tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 1 cup of cold water in a spray bottle.
Spray this homemade organic produce wash onto your vegetables and let them sit for a few minutes. Afterward, rinse with pure water.
6. Baking Soda
Can baking soda remove pesticides? The truth is, most synthetic garden chemicals cannot be washed off because they are designed to be absorbed into the plant’s tissue.
A study, however, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that baking soda (NaHCO3) solution can effectively remove residues of pesticides from the surface of apples . As a result, experts suggest washing other garden vegetables and fruits with baking soda in the same fashion.
Make a homemade veggie wash by dissolving one tablespoon of baking soda in six cups of water. Soak veggies for about 20 minutes.
Finally, drain and rinse. Use the measurement as a guide for larger batches.
Other Cleaning Approaches
The recipes above are effective for the most part, but there are some vegetables that require special attention.
You can utilize all the home remedies mentioned in this post; however, your broccoli might still need more attention. Here’s how to properly wash broccoli:
- 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 the florets around to loosen them up and get rid of dirt residue.
- Hold under the pipe. Soak broccoli to loosen up contaminants, then run it under pipe water. You can hold them in a colander while doing so.
- Dip and rub lightly. While dipping in water, use your fingers to lightly scrub the florets and stem to get off dirt and grime.
Shake off excess water before storing broccoli. However, 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 grit.
Lightly rub the asparagus with your fingers. If you have the time, working it stalk by stalk is best.
Finally, snap off the tough ends of the stalks and lay your clean asparagus on kitchen towels on the counter. Pat dry, and store.
Cut off the stems and throw them in your compost pile.
Next, peel off the outer layers of the sprouts, as these are the dirtiest parts. Remove any discolored leaves.
Place the Brussels sprouts in lukewarm water for 10 minutes before rinsing again. You can also use any of the above natural veggie wash sprays instead of pure water.
Knowing how to clean mushrooms properly is vital because they can be filled with mold and other contaminants. Dirt splashes might also be on them.
Rinse mushrooms under cool, running water. To be extra careful, dip them in a vinegar solution to kill possible mold and bacteria.
Shake off excess water and place them on paper towels. Cut off the parts that still have mold-looking residues.
While rinsing organic fruits and vegetables under running water might seem like enough since they are free of toxins, utilizing 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, and contaminated dirt can affect your health. Also, some of these contaminants can be very unsightly and disgusting on your dinner plate.
Using these natural approaches when cleaning vegetables and fruits will help to ensure that they are fit for consumption.