Guest Author - Alicia Bodine
Produce is a big part of my diet, so I purchase quite a bit of it each week. Before I put the produce in my refrigerator, I wash it. Produce can harbor such bacteria as salmonella and e.coli, which can make you really sick if you consume it. I don't take any chance where bacteria is concerned.
So how do you wash produce exactly? That is a great question because normally you think of soap when you hear the word wash, but you don't want to use soap on your produce. You do, however, need to wash your kitchen sink with soap before using the sink to clean the produce.
Once your sink is clean, fill it with cool water. Add 2 cups of white distilled vinegar and set the produce in the sink. Let the produce sit between 5 and 10 minutes. If you are washing produce that has a thick skin, feel free to brush the dirt and bacteria off with a brush. The brush should only be used on produce from that day forward. Drain the sink when you finish washing the produce and give the produce one final rinse with come cool water.
Set the produce on a few paper towel sheets. You can give the produce a little bit of time to dry naturally, but I dry them with paper towels. Just pat the paper towels over the veggies and fruits until they are dry enough to put away.
You can put your produce in the refrigerator once you have finished washing it, but what I like to do is cut it all up so that it is ready to use during the week. For example, I'll cut a head of lettuce into bite-sized pieces and store it in individual plastic zipper bags. Each bag is the base of one serving of salad. Then I might cut the carrots up and place them in their own bag.
I find that when I take the time to wash and prepare my produce ahead of time, my time in the kitchen is much less during the course of the week. It also makes me more apt to select a healthy snack verses a snack that has little to no nutritional value. It is only natural to want to grab a snack that is already prepared, verses having to take the time to prepare the snack while you're stomach is growling.