Your fruit and veg are dirtier than you think! Here’s the right way to clean them
In Summertime, there’s nothing better than to stay hydrated than eating fruit and vegetables. In the UAE we love them; during Ramadan we consumed 13,000 tons of fruits and vegetables per day! However, we quite often forget how many germs they have and we don’t take proper care with their hygiene. For that reason, Helpling.ae, the leading online platform for household services in the Middle East, asked cleaning experts what to observe during and before eating them.
Why should you wash fruits and vegetables?
Before ending up in your basket, a mango can travel thousands of kilometers. To keep the fruit’s fresh, they are sprayed with a toxic cocktail of pesticides. This can cause stomach cramps, fever or headache and even lead to food poisoning, asthma or diabetes, in extreme cases.
Another germ trap is your local supermarket: next time you’re there, stay a few minutes and observe the actions of your fellow shoppers. You may find people picking up and smelling melons or checking the consistence of 10 avocados with dirty hands, before selecting one. Your own hands hold up to 4700 different types of bacteria! But not only are our hands are a magnet for germs and dirt: flies love to lay their eggs in fruit and vegetable boxes too!
How to wash off bacteria properly
It is really as simple as it sounds: after only 15 seconds of washing fruits and vegetables in cold water can reduce up to 98 % of the bacteria. Careful: don’t wash the fruit for too long, otherwise you will damage their natural protective layer and lose important vitamins. Make sure that you wash your fruits and veggies right before consuming them – bacteria loves to multiply in moisture.
Still have doubts on how to wash specific fruits or vegs? We listed the most common ones and the techniques to clean them:
1. Apples and pears: did you know, that most of these fruits vitamins are stuck in the skin? Instead of peeling the fruit, wash it thoroughly. This way you make sure to take the recommended daily dose of vitamins – and really stay healthy!
2. Berries and grapes: soft fruits should be washed carefully by soaking them in water instead of squashing them under running water. Let the fruit dry on a paper towel.
3. Melon, mango, avocado: even if you don’t eat some fruits and vegetables skin, there will be germs and pesticides that can reach the fruit’s pulp while peeling and cutting them – through the blade or your hands. Rinse the skin with warm water before preparing your next fruit salad. Another trick to really disinfect them is: in a spray bottle, mix one tablespoon of white vinegar and one of lemon juice with one cup of water. Spray the mixture on the skin of melon or similar fruits and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse the fruits under water.
4. Potatoes, carrots, radishes: scrub away the dirt on vegetables with a rough surface (with a vegetable brush for example). After doing so, wash the products, peel them and then wash again – you never know what can be hidden.
5. Salad: do you have to wash packaged salads? Yes! Ready-made salads are often full of yeasts and mildew, which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Let the lettuce soak in cold water, so that minerals won’t wash away. Dry the leaves in a salad spinner. Extra tip: acidic salad dressings can have disinfectant effects! In combination with a prior washing the vinegar reduces the bacterial count in your salad to less than 1 percent!