How to clean pesticides off fruits and vegetables
Many people these days are more aware of pesticides on most commercial fruits and vegetables. There are safe ways to remove pesticides, using mild soaps, and or, a few simple household alternatives. Also important is a thorough rinsing. Here are some safe and healthy ways to eliminate pesticides from your foods.
Organic and locally grown produce is best, but since it cannot always be avoided, non organically grown commercial, supermarket produce is the most common kind in most households.
Keeping healthy habits is more a concern behaviorally than any thing else. People are often lulled into a false sense of confidence. They grab an apple, or plum, and maybe just give it a quick rub across a sleeve. Parents who teach children to always wash hands, and with soap and water, make the best teachers by doing it first themselves. Washing the food off becomes just an extension of this crucial step.
Besides the obvious advantage of not ingesting pesticides, which are poisons, after all, careful cleaning of all your kitchen produce and surfaces will also remove many harmful bacteria, fungi, and even repel some virus. It makes sense, and more appetizing meals, to remove a wide variety of pesticides, both herbicidal and insect toxins, when preparing any food.
Researchers at Cornell University tested simple soaps and water cleansing. It works well if done with a vigorous amount of friction. A long handled scrub brush works well. Soaking those fruits and vegetables which are not harmed by pre-soaking is a good way to give them a reasonable bath in mildly soapy water. A warm soak of a minimum of four minutes is recommended. Hand soap and mild dish washing detergent are effective. If working with those foods which are best not to soak, such as tender berries, have a spray bottle handy with diluted, soapy water. Then rinse thoroughly.
Soap and water is not the only solution. White vinegar, lemon juice and even hydrogen peroxide greatly diluted will remove pesticides without harming produce. Just one tablespoon per gallon makes a difference.
Keep vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in dark bottles with clear labels. A sprayer will make them more convenient for everyday use.
Lemon juice has the added advantage of keeping some fruits from turning brown so quickly. It also cuts through grease, and makes hands and kitchen surfaces smell nice.
Keep a fresh lemon in the refrigerator at all times, and most important of all, take the extra time to scrub; first the hands, then all the most wholesome food one can feel most proud to serve a healthy family.