Cleaning produce is a pain. So, naturally, there are a million different “easy” ways to do it. Mine isn’t THAT easy, but it’s effective and it’s better than standing over the sink scrubbing for two hours.
First, get out your fruits and veggies. If you have small things like berries or grapes, put them in a colander or something. This will make it easier to extract them later.
Next, fill your sink with enough water to cover the produce you want to clean. (If you buy a ton of produce, you’ll have to do this multiple times. Unless your bathtub is really clean, then you could just use that.) Add 1-2 cups of white vinegar to the water, swish to mix, and then dunk your produce down in there.
The hardest part of this is keeping the berries from floating away. You want to put them on top of your other produce. Just high enough that they can’t get out, but low enough that they’re still all rolling around in the water.
Let that sit for 10 minutes and then remove from the sink. The berries and grapes are fine to let dry and put into a container. However, you should wipe down your carrots and celery. (In fact, you should cut and separate your celery before you do this…I wasn’t thinking.) This sounds more time consuming than it is. Since you let the vegetables soak, the dirt will be very loose and it comes off very easily.
Look how clean!
Rinse everything under the tap when you’re finished soaking and wiping it. Once you’re done cleaning, you can cut and store your produce any way you want.
The benefits of adding vinegar to your water:
- It will disinfect your produce. Have you ever watched people in the grocery store? People have been who-knows-where doing who-knows-what and then they go around fondling the fruits and vegetables to try to find the right one. We all do it, including myself. And most of us are fairly clean, but you never know who has sneezed and then touched that pepper. You know? That sounds very germ-a-phobic of me. 😛 But germy produce is one of the things I won’t put up with if I don’t have to.
- If you eat organic, some of your food might have parasites on it (particularly lettuce and cabbage). This should help with that. Feel free to add more vinegar if it will make you feel better.
- Soaking your produce in a vinegar solution will keep it fresh longer.
This will not leave a waxy residue in your sink. I don’t know why that’s going around Pinterest, because it’s not true. I have done this with everything from apples to tomatoes to iceberg lettuce. Yes, my produce comes out cleaner, but it does not remove that “waxy stuff” because that’s not dirt, that’s part of the fruit.
Note: Do not do this with blackberries or raspberries if you intend to bake with them. They absorb water, which could mess with the liquid content of your dish and cause it to not turn out right. Don’t worry–the heat from your oven will kill any germs on them.
Also, do not add baking soda. They’re good to use separately (like with laundry), but they don’t normally work well as a cleaning agent when they’re mixed together. Baking soda and vinegar create a reaction that releases carbon dioxide and then leaves water behind as a byproduct. So if you mix baking soda and vinegar…you get plain water. Congratulations.
Enjoy your clean food! 😀