“Clean” Cleaning Fruits & Veggies

What the heck does that mean? Well, have you looked at the water you’re using to clean your fruits and veggies once you’re finished (I hope you’re not just letting the water run and run while you dip your food in and out – such a waste)? That stuff is gross. Just imagine how clean your food could be with a little extra kick.

You’ve all seen them – the new-on-the-market fruit/veg washes you can buy in the store. I will admit I’ve never used any of them, because I honestly don’t have an extra $5-$15 to spend on something like that. Don’t get me wrong, if I can get the foods I’m feeding my family a little extra clean, I will. I just looked at the ingredient list of an organic veggie wash, and I’ll admit I’m ok with what I’m seeing: water, *organic alcohol, *sunflower oil, *apple cider vinegar, *orange oil, *lemon oil, *coconut oil, potassium hydroxide (for saponification), citric acid (I used the * because I didn’t want to have to type the word organic for everything). I know what all those ingredients are. I have an understanding of what they do. And I love that they are all organic. And at just $6 for 32 ounces, that’s quite a deal.

But let’s be honest here, I have no desire to spend more money on something I can easily make at home. I’ve stopped buying bread at the store because I can easily make great bread at home, and let’s be honest, my husband loves homemade bread. I can make yogurt at home so why would I want to spend more than $6 for a container of coconut milk yogurt when I can make the same amount for less than $2? Similarly, I can make a simple, one ingredient fruit and veggie wash with something I already keep in my kitchen – vinegar.

Yup! That’s it. Just a splash of vinegar in a bowl full of water and that’s all you need to make a great vegetable wash. Wanna see?

This, my friends, is what my vinegar-water mixture looks like after I’ve cleaned all these fruits.

Let me explain how I set this up.

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First of all, if I don’t get this done the day it’s purchased it never will. So I always end up with too-ripe fruits and veggies that I can’t eat (so sad). So on shopping day, I like to make sure I lay out everything I need so this gets done and I have ready-to-eat foods for myself and my family. In the photo above, you’ll see all the fruits I have to wash, two bowls (one plain water, one with a splash of vinegar in water), and a towel to lay out everything to dry before I put things away. Before I move on, though, let me just say this is a great opportunity to have some small assistants in the kitchen. Sweet Girl absolutely loves helping in the kitchen, but this might just be her favorite thing. She gets to play with water, and do something almost completely on her own that makes her feel older than her almost 3 years.

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As you can see in the photo above, the water is already slightly brown from whatever is hanging out on my fruit (this is after I’ve already cleaned the avocados, apples, and peaches). All you need to do is give the fruit a little swish through the vinegar-water followed by a little swish through the plain water.

The images above I wanted to show in succession, because I have found out, since I started using this method to clean fruits and veggies, that grapes are nasty. The first image is one I took before washing the grapes and after washing everything else. As you can see, the bowl on the right (that had the vinegar-water) is fairly brown. And if you compare it to the photo on the right, after I’d finished cleaning the grapes, you can see that even going through one bag of grapes changes just how dirty that water was. Seriously, grapes are disgusting.

But think about it, how many hands have touched and handled the foods you buy at the store? The farm hands that picked it, the people that boxed it to ship to the warehouse, the people that boxed it to ship to the store, the people who shuffled/packaged it at the store, the people who put it out on the shelves, the people looking through to find the fruits and veggies they want to take home – gosh that’s a heck of a lot of people. And who the heck knows where their hands have been. I sure don’t.

Am I this thorough when cleaning fresh-picked fruits and veggies? Not in the slightest. A couple weeks ago both my girls and I were eating mulberries straight from the tree at one of the parks we like to visit. Seriously, a little dirt never hurt anyone. It’s really just all the hands (and apple wax – really? Do we need to wax apples to sell them?) that make me nervous.

So my quick, easy, fool-proof, one-ingredient solution to clean fruits and vegetables? Vinegar. An ingredient you more than likely already have in your kitchen. And a whole lot cheaper than buying something especially for cleaning your foods. To me that sounds like the perfect solution – cheap, readily available, and effective.

 

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