Supermarket food: Stefan Gates compares fruit and veg cost
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Fruit and vegetables are undoubtedly a healthy choice for any diet. But during the growing, packing and travelling process, they can often pick up dirt, chemicals and wax from their journey from farm to fridge. One common mistake people make is using soap on fruit and veg, but this isn’t advised as the residue can seep into the fruit and cause all manner of stomach upsets. Similarly, hot water will wilt, bruise or begin to cook some veg while with fruit, the scolding temperature can provide a pathway for microorganisms to get inside the produce.
Even fruit and veg you’ve peeled need to be washed before prepping or eating to ensure that chemical residue and dirt are removed.
However, you should only wash produce just before you plan to eat it.
The moisture from washing, when left on the fruit and veg, can harbour bacteria and cause your food to go bad much quicker.
With the world in its current technologically advanced state, there’s never been a more key time to ensure you watch what you’re ingesting and properly clean your fruit and veg – here’s how.
How to wash fruit and veg with baking soda
Start by washing your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap as your hands could have germs and dirt on them, so it’s best to start by cleaning yourself.
If you’re using your kitchen sink to soak your produce, give it a good rinse with some sanitiser.
To wash a large amount of fruit, such as an entire bag of apples, use your kitchen sink.
For smaller quantities like a punnet of strawberries, you can just use a large, clean mixing bowl.
Fill the bowl or sink about two thirds of the way with cold water.
Ensure you leave enough space to add the produce without the water spilling everywhere.
Next, add the baking soda to the cold water.
For a sinkful, go for three or four tablespoons, while in a mixing bowl just one teaspoon to every two cups cold water will be plenty.
Swirl it around the water to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
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If your produce is on a vine, like tomatoes, separate the produce and get rid of all vines and outer leaves.
Submerge the fruit or vegetables in the baking soda water.
Let everything soak for 12 to 15 minutes as this will help the baking soda do its job.
Swish the produce around in the water or push it down a few times to make sure all sides are being cleaned.
For firmer fruit and veg, like melons, apples, carrots or potatoes, use a soft bristle vegetable brush to scrub the surface.
Lightly rub more fragile foods with your finger as the scrubbing will help remove loosened first while softening wax and chemicals.
Remove the produce from the water and let everything dry thoroughly before prepping or eating.
For fresh herbs and leafy greens, try layering leaves between tea towels or kitchen roll to soak up moisture.
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