Washing Produce: To Do or Not To Do, and How

          Washing fruits and veggies is generally a good idea. With organic produce, it’s a matter of washing off human paw-prints and residual dirt. With conventional produce, washing can reduce pesticide residue, but not eliminate it. Peeling conventional fruits and veggies can also reduce the chemical pesticides, sprays and waxes that are concentrated in the skin (though beneficial minerals and nutrients are also concentrated in skins and lost when skin is peeled). However, the reality is that conventional produce is laden with pesticides inside and out – especially soft-skinned specimens like tomatoes, grapes, berries, peaches and lettuces – so going organic for soft-skinned produce is a high priority. See The Dirty Dozen for a list of the most important foods to choose organically-grown as their conventional counterparts are consistently loaded with pesticide residues.

            Personlly, I am not big on heavy-duty produce washing largely because I choose organically-grown produce whenever possible. Plus, I believe that a wee bit organic dirt might be good for for the body and may help to keep the immune system in fighting form. Not all soil-borne organisms and bacteria are bad. In fact, the human digestive tract depends on microorganisms by the trillions. Helpful bacteria found in foods like yogurt and miso are key elements in maintaining a healthy balance of microorganisms in our guts, which is essential for robust digestion and assimilation of food and nutrients. But, some kinds of bacteria, on the other hand, are not so good. Produce can be contaminated by bacteria growing in a festering fridge and cross-contaminated from hands or surfaces when animal products like meat, poultry and fish are handled in an unsanitary way, causing major stomach upset and worse. See Superbugs in Supermarket Meat for more. Washing fruits and veggies with non-toxic formulas is the eco-logical and healthy way to be safe.

            There are a few naturally non-toxic produce-washing products on the store shelves, but blending up homemade washing tonics is cheap, easy, and no-nonsense.


Click to view the recipes:

Fruit and Veggie Washing Tonic

Extra-Strength Homemade Lemon Peel Produce Wash

Homemade Lemon Peel Concentrate and Produce Wash

Fruit and Veggie Oxygen Wash