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For Proper Fruit and Vegetable Washing Use Vinegar

18 Jun

Have you ever wondered whether those expensive veggie washes are worth the money?

The editors of Cook’s Illustrated, a serious foodie magazine, wondered too. They usually focus on cooking techniques, but recently they looked into techniques for cleaning food.

Testing Cleaning Techniques

So the magazine did some comparative testing, by cleaning apples and pears in four different ways. They washed one batch with an antibacterial soap. (That, by the way, is not recommended by food safety experts — nobody thinks swallowing soap is a good idea.)

They washed other pieces of fruit with a solution of diluted vinegar (one part vinegar to three parts water), rinsing afterward with pure water. They scrubbed the third group with a brush, and simply rinsed the fourth group with clean water.

To measure how well each technique worked, they sampled the outside of the fruit with sterile cotton swabs, then rubbed the little bits of grime onto Petri dishes.

Jack Bishop says they next let the Petri dishes sit at 80 degrees for several days to see what bacteria grew. Then they counted how many bacterial colonies were present.

It turns out the scrub brush removed 85 percent of the bacteria — a little more than the water alone.

But the cleaning method that worked the best was the dilute vinegar rinse. It removed 98 percent of the bacteria.

Cleaning with Vinegar

“I’ve got a spray bottle filled with three cups of water and one cup of white vinegar,” Bishop says. “It’s in a spray bottle — the kind you’d mist your plants with.”

Bishop sprays each apple with about six squirts of the solution — just enough to coat the surface — and then rinses it under the tap.

“The cold water will wash the residual flavor from the vinegar, and finishes the cleaning process,” Bishop says. “So it’s a 30-second, 50-cent investment.”

For Leafy and Irregular Vegetables

Step 1

Pour one cup of distilled vinegar into a large bowl or basin, and add 3 cups water. Stir gently with a large spoon or ladle to mix the liquids thoroughly.

Step 2

Separate the leaves of leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach and turnip greens, and dip them in the vinegar solution. Remove from the bowl, rinse under cold running water, shake off excess, and pat dry before serving.

Step 3

Place irregular vegetables that have many crevices, such as cauliflower and broccoli, in the bowl of vinegar and water. Allow these vegetables to soak for at least two minutes before rinsing under cold, running water. Shake off excess water, and pat dry before cutting or serving.

Sources: http://www.livestrong.com/article/255880-how-to-clean-fruits-vegetables-with-vinegar/#ixzz1y6qkv2oM
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14540742

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