In an ideal world, we’d all be able to find and afford organic produce at all times. Realistically, it’s not possible for everyone. I live in Brighton, and it’s still difficult for me to find good quality organic produce all the time, and when I do it is often ridiculously overpriced.
Don’t get me wrong, I still buy organic produce. Just not nearly as often as I would like.
So, what do you do when you can’t buy organic? Do you stop eating produce? Despite knowing the level of pesticides found in some of our favourite foods, I rarely washed them.
I have no excuse other than I’m lazy. Sometimes I just want to eat an apple without having to wash, scrub and dry it first. Sometimes I manage my time poorly and I NEED that food NOW! There simply isn’t time to spray, sit, rinse and repeat. Is there really a point to washing a carrot if I’m going to peel the outer layer anyway?!
Yes, there is. Does anyone really want to eat bugs for dinner?
And there’s more than bugs too. There could be a whole party of parasites, bacteria, pesticide or other toxic residue on the fruits and vegetables. Not to mention all the hands that have already touched those berries! They’re all hand-picked in the fields, where there is no soap and water readily available for hand washing. Just another reason why we started our own garden, and why everyone should consider growing their own vegetables, especially the ones you eat every day. Besides knowing who has touched your food and how it was grown, learning how to grow your own lettuce could also save you a few pennies on your shopping budget. And every pound counts!
Even organic produce is at risk. Do you know any farms that use.. um, natural fertilizer? Are you going to take a big juicy bite out of an apple that fell to the ground tended with horse apples?
Of course not. But because I’m lazy, the cleaning solution needs to be really, really easy. And fast. And effective. Because even if it’s easy and fast, if it doesn’t do the job, it’s pointless.
We’ve recently discovered some amazing properties of apple cider vinegar, beyond using it as a soaking medium for grains (oh yes, it’s coming!) and in salad dressings. We’ve used it for healing sinus infections, croup and to help keep seasonal allergies at bay! But before I go completely off topic, let’s talk about how we can try to clean that amazing seasonal produce that’s showing up at the farmer’s markets.
How to Wash Produce NaturallyTo get your produce as clean as possible (and as pesticide free as possible), you will want to take a few extra steps. Most people just put their fruit in a strainer and rinse it with water in the sink, but we are going to actually let our produce soak for awhile in a food-safe cleaning solution.
Combine approximately 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar with approximately 250ml / 1 cup of water in a bowl. I used a measuring spoon (because sometimes I’m picky like that), but you can quite easily eyeball a pour of each.
Place produce in the bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Agitation is your best friend, so poke and stir while the vinegar does the job. I got sidetracked with peeling carrots while the berries soaked for 10 minutes instead of 5. I don’t know if they’re any cleaner, but the good news is that the vinegar didn’t disintegrate them!
Remove the produce and rinse very well. Allow soft fruits like peaches and berries to air dry completely on a towel. Harder fruits like apples and mangoes can be hand dried using a towel.
TIPS FOR CLEANING PRODUCE
Do tell – do you clean your produce before eating? Or do you skip out on like me (well, the old me)?
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!