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Learning how to wash fruits and vegetables may seem pretty elementary, but prep cooks need to know how to handle fruits and vegetables to ensure optimal service. Proper washing techniques help to prevent food born illness and spoilage while also reducing food waste. These things are all essential to a successful kitchen.
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How to wash fruits and vegetables
Need to know how to wash fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides for basic fruits and veggies like cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes? One easy cleaning method is spraying them with a commercial produce spray and allowing them to sit for 30 seconds before scrubbing. Another method is soaking them in a saltwater solution for a few minutes before scrubbing.
Both these cleanings methods are great if you want to know how to properly wash fruits and vegetables. No matter what you choose, always make sure your hands are clean, as foodborne illness can occur from improper handling!
How to wash fruits
Not all fruits are made the same. Certain fruits require special attention when you wash them. Let’s dive into how to wash these fruits so that they’re safe to eat.
How to wash apples
Apples have some of the highest levels of pesticide residue. This means that proper cleaning measures must be taken to remove these pesticides and guarantee food safety. Soaking apples in a baking soda solution for 15 minutes before scrubbing is an efficient way to remove most pesticides.
How to wash grapes
Bacteria and pesticide residue are often found all over grapes, making it a priority that you clean this fruit carefully. To clean grapes, spray with a fruit wash or soak them in a solution of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water before rinsing thoroughly.
How to wash berries
Similar to grapes, washing berries in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water kills bacteria. This method also extends their shelf life. However, do not soak berries in a vinegar solution for long. Berries have thin skins and absorb water easily, so you should dip them in the solution instead. If they sit in the solution, they’ll end up tasting a little vinegary.
How to clean strawberries
A diluted vinegar solution is a great way to clean strawberries. You can also soak strawberries in a saltwater solution as well. Whichever method you choose, make sure you drain the strawberries after, rinsing them with water and then patting them dry.
How to wash vegetables
Veggies come in all shapes and sizes. This can make washing them seem a little complicated. Below, we will explain how to handle vegetables that are harder to clean due to their shape.
How to clean mushrooms
Since mushrooms tend to absorb water very easily, you don’t want to soak them for long periods. One option for cleaning mushrooms is to quickly soak them in cool water for one minute or put them in a colander and run under cool water. Then, immediately pat them dry.
Another method is to place the mushrooms in a colander and rinse with water until all the dirt is removed. If you’re looking for a water-free (but more time-consuming) alternative, gently wipe away dirt from each mushroom with a paper towel or cloth.
How to wash lettuce
Fill a clean sink or a large bowl with cool water (you can also use a produce cleaning solution here too.) Separate the lettuce and add to the sink or bowl, swishing the lettuce around to remove any dirt. Let it soak for two minutes. Then, put the lettuce in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the produce on a towel and allow it to dry before using.
How to clean broccoli and cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower can contain pests and worms, so you want to ensure these vegetables are thoroughly washed. One option is to add the broccoli to a colander and manually wash each floret. The other is to submerge the broccoli in a bowl of water or a vinegar solution for a few minutes, then wash the florets off manually.
How to wash tomatillos
Tomatillos often have a sticky residue once you remove the husk. To remove this residue, place the tomatillos in a colander and gently scrub under cool water. You can also soak them for 1-2 minutes in a vinegar-water solution and then rinse them thoroughly.
How to wash kale and spinach
Similar to lettuce, fill a clean sink with water and add the kale or spinach. Swish around and allow the vegetables to sit for a few minutes, letting the dirt sink to the bottom. Put the leafy greens in a colander, rinse under cool water, and then pat dry or use a handy salad spinner.
How to wash fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley
Fresh herbs can be washed similarly to lettuce. Fill your clean sink or a large bowl with cool water (or a produce cleaning solution.) Separate the herbs and add them to the sink or bowl, gently swishing the herbs around to remove any dirt. Allow them to soak for two minutes before placing the herbs in a colander and briefly rinsing with cool water. Place the herbs on a towel and air dry before using.
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Washing fruits and vegetables is a simple yet critical function of making sure food is safe to eat. Using the proper fruits and vegetable washing methods will help to prevent cross-contamination and decrease your chances of guests contracting foodborne illnesses. With the techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure that guests are receiving dishes that are safe to eat!
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