Friday, March 30, 2012

Vegetable Washes

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I recently ran out of my store bought vegetable wash. This wash was probably around $4-$5. I used it a little at first, then it probably sat on my shelf for over a year. I recently picked it up again in an effort to make my organic produce last a little longer and get rid of bacteria and pesticides. I ran out quickly and remembered I saw something on Pinterest about a home made vegetable wash. As my spinach, cilantro, and tomato were soaking under plain water I quickly did an online search (because Google is quicker than going through my Pinterest boards-sad I know), and found a recipe. It was for half white vinegar and half water. I poured a splash of vinegar in my water-because I was hardly going to measure such a thing. Presto right?

Well this afternoon after thinking about it a little more, I decided to do quick some research. First I found two ways in which a vinegar mix can help clean off your produce. They are only about 80% effective.

1.  Use 1 TB Distilled White Vinegar and 1.5 t. salt with 4 cups water.
-The conclusion was that it worked well, but it took a little rubbing afterwards to get everything(visible residue, dirt, & bugs) off, but it came off easily.

2. Use half water, half vinegar.
-The results to this recipe was very much the same as the one above, however it was a little more work rubbing the remaining particles off the produce. I'm guessing the salt loosens the 'grip'.

So my conclusion is that I will no longer purchase the store bought wash, I'll just use vinegar & salt from my cabinet.

The other part of this theory is a little harder to decipher. What is the value of the bacteria on produce? Can you really wash off chemicals and pesticides?

I do believe good bacteria is vital to our existence. We need bacteria to survive. Washing bacteria off of our produce though will help it last a little longer. Especially because organic produce usually deteriorates faster than those with preservatives.

Chemicals and pesticides we can do without. Here's the deal though, I don't think these sprays are just sitting on the top of our produce. It's within it. It's grown with it. Chemicals are a part of the soil. It's even difficult for organic farmers to keep it away 100% of the time. So will a vinegar wash get rid of all the chemicals and pesticides. I don't have a solid answer for you, but I doubt it. Let's guess maybe 40%? Dish Soap is shown to take off wax and pesticides from produce, however I'm not fond of the idea of using dish soap. Plus it damages the greens a little more.

So what's my plan? I'm going to wash all my organic produce with just plain water. If I have organic produce that I don't plan on using for a few days...I'll use a vinegar wash. For my regular produce, I'll use a vinegar wash as well. I may even do a squirt of dish soap. If you do use dish soap though, do it right before you use it. The produce won't keep very well afterwards.

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