How many times have you brought your fresh fruits and veggies home and placed them straight into your fridge or pantry without washing them? It may surprise you to discover that your vegetable drawer is the dirtiest part of your fridge, but it’s all thanks to the fact that you forget to wash your produce. If you want to keep your fridge clean and your home as free of germs as possible, here is the right way to treat fresh fruits and veggies:
Rinse Them Well
You may think that running the veggies and fruits under the tap for a few seconds will do the trick, but you’d be wrong! A few seconds of exposure to water will not get rid of the germs and bacteria that have made their home on your produce. Remember that the veggies and fruits were sitting out in the open air in your supermarket, exposed to any bacteria, germs, and other pathogens floating around in the air. To really get the fruits and veggies clean, you need to hold them under the water for up to a minute. You don’t need any fancy vegetable wash or soaking solution, but just good old fashioned water will work. It may seem like a long time to rinse the vegetables, but isn’t it worth it to get rid of bacteria?
As you are rinsing the veggies and fruits, use your hands to scrub them gently. You don’t want to use a scrub brush or scouring pad, as that will bruise the fruits and veggies. You can just use your hands, as that will help to loosen up the bacteria enough that the water will wash it away. A gentle scrubbing motion will do the trick, and make sure to scrub the entire surface of the vegetable. Firmer produce can be scrubbed using a vegetable brush, and you can use a toothbrush to clean the crevices of vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli. It’s also handy for cleaning out the crevices of apples, pears, peaches, and other fruits that are high in microbes and germs. And don’t forget to give the outsides of fruits like pineapples, watermelons, melons, and oranges a scrub. Yes, you will peel them, but you want to get rid of as many germs as possible!
Not all veggies can handle a washing or scrubbing! If you try to scrub lettuce, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens, you’re going to cause them to wilt and spoil faster than they should. Instead, leave these leafy greens in their bags, and only soak them before you are going to cook with them. Soak the leaves in a bowl of water for a few minutes, and use a salad spinner to get rid of the water and dirt. You’ll find that rinsing, soaking, and spinning will usually be enough to get rid of roughly 98% of the bacteria and germs on your leafy greens.
Bag Before Storing
Many people make the mistake of putting the veggies and fruits directly into the fridge, but that defeats the entire purpose of scrubbing or washing away all the germs. The germs in your fridge will contaminate the produce, and it will be dirty again by the time you eat it. Instead, place the produce into supermarket bags (clean and fresh, if possible), and place the bagged veggies in your fridge shelves and drawers. Make sure to leave the bags open, so the moisture can escape (preventing the growth of mold). Do this, and your fridge will be much cleaner!