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cleaning fresh fruit

How to Clean Your Fruits and Vegetables: The Definitive Guide to Ensuring Freshness

In today's health-conscious era, the importance of properly cleaning fruits and vegetables cannot be overstated. Just like an artist cleans their canvas before creating a masterpiece, cleaning your produce is the first step before letting creativity take over in the kitchen.

Despite their inherent nutritional value, our beloved fruits and veggies can harbor not-so-nutritious contaminants (think: pesticides, soil residues, and potentially harmful bacteria).

At freshfruit.com, we’re committed to providing fresh and healthy produce, which is why all our produce is thoroughly washed by your local Fruit Experts before being hand-delivered to your doorstep.

Because we don’t gatekeep around here, here’s our comprehensive guide for ensuring it’s so fresh and so clean, clean. (We couldn’t help ourselves with an OutKast reference; we are Atlanta-based after all!) 

Why is it important to clean your fruits and vegetables?

Before diving into the cleaning process, let’s understand why it’s necessary. Fruits and vegetables can encounter various contaminants during growth, harvest, transportation, and even at home. These contaminants may include:

  • Pesticides and Chemical Residues: Farmers often use pesticides to protect crops from pests and diseases. While these chemicals are regulated, residues may remain on the produce.
  • Dirt and Soil: Natural elements like dirt and soil can cling to fruits and vegetables, especially root vegetables.
  • Bacteria and Microorganisms: According to the CDC, fruits and vegetables can harbor bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, which can cause foodborne illnesses if consumed.

    By treating your produce to a spa day that leaves them feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you reduce the risk of ingesting harmful substances and ensure that you’re getting the full nutritional benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. And let’s be honest: You feel so “adult” doing it!

    Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

    1. Wash Your Hands: First things first, always start by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This prevents transferring any dirt or bacteria from your hands to the produce.
    2. Separate and Sort: Next, it’s time to put into practice what we’ve learned from The Home Edit. Sort your fruits and vegetables, separating them based on type.
    3. Rinse Under Running Water: For most fruits and vegetables, rinsing under cold, running water is sufficient. Hold each piece under the water and rub gently with your hands to remove surface dirt and residues.
    4. Use a Vegetable Brush: For produce with tougher skins or surfaces, use a vegetable brush, like this one, to scrub them under running water. This helps remove dirt and residues that may be trapped in crevices.
    5. Soak in Vinegar Solution: To further eliminate pesticides and bacteria, consider soaking your produce in a solution of vinegar and water. Mix one part vinegar with three parts water in a bowl, and you’ve got yourself a magic elixir for banishing pesticides and unwelcome germs. Soak the fruits or vegetables for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly under running water.
      Pro tip: Not all fruits and veggies should be soaked! Keep scrolling for further instruction on how to wash certain fruits.
    6. Pat Dry or Air Dry: After cleaning, pat your produce dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Alternatively, let them air dry on a clean surface before storing them in the refrigerator.

    Cleaning Tips for Specific Fruit

    Some types of produce require their own form of TLC to maintain their freshness. Here’s our shortened guide for the most popular produce:

    • How to Clean Berries: Berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are delicate and can easily become mushy if soaked in water for too long. Instead of soaking, rinse them gently under cold, running water just before eating or using them. You can also use a colander or mesh strainer to ensure thorough rinsing without damaging the berries.
    • How to Clean Apples: Apples often have a wax coating applied to improve their appearance and shelf life. While this wax is food-grade and safe, it's a good idea to wash these fruits with warm water and a mild detergent or baking soda to remove any dirt, wax, or pesticide residues. Don’t forget to rinse thoroughly with cold water afterward!
    • How to Clean Cantaloupe & Pineapple: Even though you’re not actually eating the skin of these fruits (we hope), contaminants from the skin can transfer to the sweet parts you do eat when you cut into it, so it’s best to give your cantaloupes and pineapples a quick scrub down too. Simply rinse the cantaloupe under cold, running water, using your hands or a brush to rub the surface gently to remove any visible dirt or debris.
    • How to Clean Oranges: Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes have thick peels that can harbor dirt and residues. Wash them thoroughly under running water and use a brush to scrub the skin gently. If you plan to use the zest, opt for organic varieties or wash conventionally grown citrus fruits with a mild soap and rinse well.

    At freshfruit.com, we’re all about delivering top-notch quality and helping you savor every delicious moment. These cleaning tips aren’t just for your safety; they’re about enjoying all the goodness from your favorite flavors that comes from a little extra care.