Did you know that on average seven people touched that apple you bought before you did? And that up to twenty people handled those tomatoes in your basket before you picked them up from the supermarket shelf?
Every year, fruits and vegetables that have not been properly washed, refrigerated or cooked make many people sick. As fresh as they are, the way they are handled and cleaned are very important for good nutrition and good health.
How and when should you wash your fruits and vegetables?
- Wash your hands with soap and water and make sure your sink is clean
- Wash fruit or vegetables before eating by gently rubbing the produce with your hands under clean running water
- You can use a vegetable scrub brush to clean firm fruits and vegetables like melons, potatoes and squash
- Even fruits or vegetables that you peel such as banana and oranges need to be washed well
- Always wash your fruits and vegetables just before you use them, not when you store them
Good to remember:
To maintain crispness, wash lettuce leaves individually before drying them on a dry towel.
|Type of Fruit or Vegetable||Method of Washing|
|Firm fruits and vegetables: apples, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and avocados.||Wash in clean drinking water between 27 and 40 degrees Celsius|
|Ripe and fragile fruits: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries.||Spray gently with a kitchen sink sprayer, or place fruits in a wire basket and immerse in a pot filled with warm water. Move the basket quickly in and out of the water several times. Change the water until it remains clear.|
|Salads, green leafy vegetables, lettuce, radishes and carrots.||Wash in very cold water to maintain crispiness.|
Good to know:
Bring out the flavour and aroma of the fruit or vegetable you are preparing, by washing it in slightly warm water.
How do you dry fruits and vegetables?
Use a clean cloth or paper towel. Drying is critical, because water droplets on the surface of fruit and vegetables might cause spoilage.
Do not use detergent or dish soap when washing fruit and vegetables. This is because the residues left by the detergent on the fruit and vegetables might cause diarrhoea. On the other hand, you can wash them using the special fruit/vegetable wash available in supermarkets.