Prepping & Cleaning Fruits and Veggies

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You may be tempted to use antibacterial soap or dish soaps on your fruits and vegetables, but these soaps may leave unwanted residues on your produce. If you are considering trying commercial produce cleaning products, know that there are currently no industry standards for effectiveness for this type of product.

Even if you are in a rush, avoid soaking fruits and vegetables together in water in the sink. Your fruits and vegetables may cross-contaminate each other.

Your knives should be also clean before you start to slice and dice. If you use the same knife with raw meats and vegetables, you may transfer harmful microbes to your produce. Don't use dirty knives on either meats or produce.

Cleaning Fruits and Veggies: The List

Cleaning fruits and veggies isn't just about washing and drying your produce. Not all fruits and vegetables should be handled alike.

  • Remove and discard the outer leaves on any types of lettuce that you are using in your salad before washing. The inside leaves will be "cleaner."
  • Hull strawberries after you wash them.
  • Trim off the outer leaves of cauliflower before you run your cauliflower under water.
  • Remove stems and hull tomatoes after washing.
  • Remove the stems and hull peppers after you wash them. If you are working with hot peppers, clean the area thoroughly before you start into another fruit or vegetable. You probably don't want the "heat" on your other produce.
  • Banana peels can be "dirty." You may inadvertently transfer bacteria from the peel to the banana if you don't wash the banana before peeling it.
  • Treat cabbages like lettuce. Remove the outer leaves before you wash a cabbage.
  • Scrub the outsides of carrots and potatoes before you peel them.
  • If you are shelling peas, wash the pods first.