While organic vegetables do not contain pesticides or other harmful chemicals, you still need to wash or clean them properly before eating 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; however, do not use soap to wash vegetables. Explore these natural methods on how to disinfect fruits and vegetables to get rid of worms, parasites, bugs, bacteria, and other pollutants.
You can make your own fruit and veggie wash using simple ingredients you find around your home. Moreover, they are both safe and effective, and very easy to use.
Here’s how to clean fruits and veggies 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 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 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. 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 but for washing foods too.
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 vinegar for washing fruits and vegetables, make a solution of one part vinegar and 3 parts of water.
Pour this homemade fruit and vegetable wash in a large mixing bowl and allow your produce to soak for a few minutes then rinse under cool running water.
Besides, soaking in vinegar is one of the best ways to clean fruits and vegetables organically.
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.
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 it dissolves before placing them in. After steeping in this homemade veggie wash for a few minutes, you can then rinse the produce 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 produce.
You will need two spray bottles; one for vinegar and the other for peroxide.
First, spray your produce with vinegar, and then with peroxide. Next, rinse them thoroughly with water.
Not only is this DIY veggie wash spray good for cleaning fruits and vegetables, but it can also be used to kill bacteria like E. Coli on meats.
Another great substance used for getting rid of germs is lemon, and chances are, you already have some lemon juice in your pantry.
Combine a tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 1 cup of cold water in a spray bottle.
Spray this organic veg 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 pesticide from the surface of apples. As a result, experts suggest washing other garden vegetables and fruits with baking soda in the same fashion.
Here’s how to remove worms from vegetables with baking soda:
Make a homemade fruit and vegetable cleaner solution by dissolving one tablespoon of baking soda in six cups of water. Soak them for about 20 minutes.
Drain and rinse. Use the measurement as a guide for larger batches.
Other Cleaning Approaches
Along with the fruit and vegetable cleaners above, there are some vegetables that require special attention.
You can utilize all the home remedies mentioned in this post to properly wash broccoli; however, they might need a little more attention.
- 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 pile.
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 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 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 rinsing fruits and 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 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.