While there is much information on the internet about things to stock during a typhoon, how to wash hands properly, and many more. I think it is also important to point how to handle food items since food is something we all need. Fresh food like green leafy vegetables (for example, lettuce) must be thoroughly washed to get rid of germs. Here is the proper on how to wash lettuce to kill bacteria and remove pesticides:
You may use a vinegar solution to wash lettuce. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can be used to kill bacteria. It is cheap, readily available, and does not contain harmful chemicals. To make a vinegar solution, mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.
Though washing them with running water is the most common method, this technique helps in reducing any contamination from handling. It is wiser to add one more step to washing vegetables and other kinds of products properly. Here are other ways to wash lettuce that you can apply:
Ways To Wash Lettuce Properly
Use baking soda
Baking soda is not a disinfectant, but very effective in cleaning off pesticides. To use baking soda in cleaning vegetables, use 14 grams of baking soda per liter of water. Mix until it dissolves, soak fresh produce in the solution for 5 minutes, then rinse it off with cold water.
Use special detergent
Some people recommend the use of detergent, which might work. Soap is one of the most effective ways to get rid of bacteria. However, make sure to rinse the detergent carefully before consuming any produce.
I reviewed some produce wash brands below.
Use food-grade hydrogen peroxide for 10 min
To use hydrogen peroxide as a cleaning agent, mix 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to 3 liters of water. Soak the lettuce completely in the hydrogen peroxide solution and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, rinse everything off with cold water. Remember that hydrogen peroxide is lethal in large doses.
Wash in batches
Instead of washing vegetables when you only need them, practice washing them as soon as you get them home from the grocery store. Washing in batches will help you save water and save time. For leafy vegetables like lettuce, wash them and dry them in a salad spinner and then store them in the refrigerator.
Use cold water to wash lettuce
Cold water is the most advisable way of washing produce as it helps keeps everything fresh and crispy.
Cooking can kill germs
When heat is applied, it acts as a natural killer for germs and bacteria; therefore, it may be wise to cook everything before consuming it. Cooking food is a great way to kill any contamination that can be harmful to your health.
Peel your vegetables (Optional)
Peeling vegetables after you rinse them is an excellent step that is important to do. Vegetable peel has a lot of pleasant benefits, and one of them is acting as a barrier. However, some people believe that peeling vegetables can reduce their nutritive value.
9 Common Myths About Washing Your Produce
Should I wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them? These are the most commonly asked questions after buying fruits from the market. People are also confused if even the prewashed lettuce from supermarkets needs to be washed. Well, here are some common myths about washing produce:
#1: I don’t need to wash fruits if I’m going to peel it
Truth: Yes, you must do. It is easier to transfer bacteria with the knife from the peel or rind, especially if you are cutting the inside of the fruits and veggies. A thorough rinsing in cold running water is enough (soap is unnecessary). You may use a clean vegetable brush to scrub the rind and be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water afterward before handling the food.
#2: I should wash the prewashed bagged lettuce
Truth: Bagged lettuce or spinach labeled as prewashed were subjected to commercial wash in chlorinated water before packaging. Rinsing them again in the kitchen is not going to make it any safer. But if you think washing them again can make you feel better, you may do so.
#3: I don’t have to wash organic produce
Truth: While organic produce does not have pesticides or chemical residues, it can still carry microorganisms that occur naturally in the soil moreover, farmers have little control over who handles those organic fruits and veggies after they are harvested. To be safe, wash it like you would any other produce.
#4: Homegrown produce does not need to be washed
Truth: Though the risk is lower if you used processed soil, it is still not nil. It is still a good idea to wash even those grown in your backyard like tomatoes, zucchini, and other produce before you eat them.
#5: Peel all fruits and veggies to avoid contamination
Truth: Not everything needs to be peeled. Fruits and veggies’ skin contains essential nutrients needed by the body. An unpeeled apple for instance has nearly doubled fibers, more Vitamin A, and potassium than a peeled apple. Meanwhile, the potato peel has 20% of the veggies’ nutrients including Vitamin B and fiber. Carrots don’t feel about peeling because the fact that the peel and the underlying veggies are the same color indicates they both have equivalent nutrients. If you don’t peel your fruits and veggies, make sure to rinse them well before eating them. For instance, apples are heavily sprayed but you can also buy organic.
#6: I should wash produce as soon as I get home
Truth: Bacteria can grow while you store your products; therefore, it is best to wash produce before you use it. Besides, washing fruits and veggies before you store them can make them spoil faster. However, due to pandemics, there’s a sudden urge to this often, to prevent them from faster spoilage, be sure to dry them thoroughly with a clean paper towel and wash them again before you eat them just in case.
#7: Mold is the end of the world
Truth: If the fruit and veggie have mold, throw them away. But if you see only a small portion of the mold, it can be salvaged then. Just cut away the part of the moldy spot. If the affected produce is soft fruit and vegetable like tomato, throw it away. The mold can spread under the surface of moist and soft produce.
#8: Washing cannot remove pesticides
Truth: Though not totally, it is still a good idea to wash all your produce. Yes, there are pesticide residues on fruits and veggies that can be harmful. But before you consume them, know that your chance of getting food-borne illness can be lowered. Precautions like rinsing the produce and cutting away mold can make the risk slimmer. However, there’s no need to go crazy on your veggies by using an expensive produce wash.
#9: I need a fancy produce wash
Truth: The use of fruit and vegetable washes claims to kill more bacteria some studies claim that tap water can also do a good job or better. When you rinsed the produce thoroughly with water, it can remove 98% of the bacteria. However, it is unclear whether the residues left are safe to eat.
If you are concerned with the quality of your tap water, you can always use distilled water. You can also make a safe homemade produce wash by mixing one part of vinegar with three parts of water. However, the vinegar may change the taste and texture of the produce.
The only exception to prewashing produce is garlic and onions. Their thin papery skin cannot stand up to moisture, therefore, they will spoil faster. But since you peel these anyway before using them, they will be alright.