Thursday, June 4, 2009

Produce Washes: Are They Worth The Money

As I continue to see advertisements for produce washes I realized it was important for people to know the FACS about these washes and the best way to wash our produce before eating them.

All of us want our families to be healthy, and one of the best ways to improve health is to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diets. We know that most of the time the fruits and vegetables that have the best nutritional content are the fresh ones (rather than canned or frozen) but with our busy family lives it is easy to skip the produce washing step with our fresh produce.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is important to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables that are not grown organically have pesticides and herbicides lurking on their skins. And even if they are grown organically you don’t know who or what has touched your produce before you decide to eat it.

The good news is that the commercial produce washes are not recommended and washing fruits under running water should work just fine. Firm produce such as apples and cucumbers should be washed with a produce brush. It is not necessary to wash “pre-washed” fruits and vegetables before eating. Berries and grapes can be rinsed thoroughly and left to dry in a colander.

There isn’t a definitive answer in regards to how long you should wash your produce before eating them, but I would use the same rule of thumb that you use when washing your hands. Sing the ABC’s and when you are done with the song, you are done washing the piece of produce!

Remember that washing fruits and vegetables will make them spoil sooner, so only wash them if you plan on eating them fairly soon!

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