No matter where you get your vegetables, at the store, farmer’s market or from your own garden, they need to be washed. Prepared washes are not always available here. When they are in stock, they can be pricey. The easiest and cheapest method I`ve found is using ¼ cup white vinegar in ½ gallon of water. Scientifically, I don`t know how much bacteria, germs, etc. it does remove. However, no one likes excess dirt or creepy, crawly things in their food. When you spend the time to prepare food, you definitely don’t want to make anyone sick.
First, rinse the produce well under running water. Don’t scrub with a brush as it may scratch the surface and let unwanted bacteria in. Use your hands to rub off visible dirt. I’ve recycled a ½ gallon pickle jar to wash my veggies in. If I have a lot of produce to do at once, I recycle a gallon pickle jar and increase the white vinegar to ½ cup. I make sure the skin is intact with no holes or mushy spots. Some vegetables float, so when the lid`s put on, it keeps them submerged. Keep the vegetables in the vinegar/water solution for 15 minutes. Dump out and refill the jar with cool water. Return the produce to the jar for 5 minutes, then rinse briefly.
Following the initial soak for leafy greens, (cilantro, parsley, leaf lettuce,) I swish the greens around and change the water a couple times until the rinse water is clear. I’m on a private well, so I don’t have chlorinated water. Our drinking water runs through a RO system. I’d use filtered water in the vinegar solution if I lived in town rather than the chlorinated city tap water.
Always be sure to wash cantaloupe and watermelons. Even though you don’t eat the rind, the bacteria is transferred inside when you slice it.
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