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weinoo

Scrubbing Your Fruits and Veggies (MERGED TOPIC)

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I confess: I wash my fruit pretty thoroughly. That is, I use the same soap that I would put on a sponge to wash my dishes to wash fruit before ingesting. I'll put a drop of Dawn into a bowl, fill it with warm water and throw the cherries and grapes in there. I scrub my cantaloupe before cutting into it. I'm obsessed.

And then, this morning, I read this article, from Men's Health. It's about the 10 dirtiest foods "we're" eating. Cantaloupe makes the cut, so maybe I'm not so nuts after all (I remember eColi being linked to cantaloupe years ago when I lived in California). But I never knew this about peaches...

And while apples tote a wider variety of pesticides, the sheer amount and strength of those on peaches sets the fuzzy fruit apart. On an index of pesticide toxicity devised by Consumers Union, peaches rank highest.

Is this an eye-opener, or did we already know all this? And...how thoroughly do you wash your melons?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I wash the melons as soon as they're home with soap and hot water. Other fruits I rinse with cold water just before eating. Perhaps I should be more vigilant.

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I wash all melons with cold water and hydrogen peroxide 5 vol, then dry them carefully with a clean tea towel. Peaches are scrubbed with a soft brush under running water - I don't have the pesticide problem that y'all do up in the states, because farmer's can't afford them here, but I do have to remove all of the volcanic ash that accumulates on them. If I don't, they're just gritty and awful.

Other fruits are either misted with peroxide and rinsed under the tap (cold water) or simply rinsed.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I buy 75% concentration food-grade hydrogen peroxide from my local chemistry supply shop, then dilute it with distilled water to the desired low concentrations. A gallon jug of the strong stuff lasts me more than a year. The peroxide at the pharmacy isn't necessarily food-grade, since it's meant for external use to clean wounds and whatnot; here, I always worry about the quality of the water that's used in the dilution. However, in a pinch and certainly when travelling, it's what I use because all pharmacies even in the tiniest of little towns carry it. I've got a few special tools that are just for handling the strong peroxide (at 75%, you can polymerize your skin with it) - a nice graduated pipette is a must, as is a volumetric cylinder for measuring the water accurately.

I've got two sprayers, actually - one of 5 vol (5%) for washing fruits and veggies, and one of 10 vol (10%) for cleaning the sink. Over in the kitchen sink thread, I mentioned this, but didn't go into details. H2O2 at 10 vol will kill all the little nasties that are hiding in the drain and in the cracks where the drain meets the sink basin. It's also proven effective at 5 vol against all of the bacteria and parasites that hide out on fruit and veggies.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I've never heard of washing fruit and vegetables to this degree. I usually just rinse with cold water.

I must be ignorant, or lucky, or both!

How do you cope with mushrooms?


Edited by CFT (log)

Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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Color me naive. Since I'm cutting the rind off of the cantaloupe and not eating the rind of any melons, I don't wash them. Have I just been lucky these 56 years?


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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Color me naive. Since I'm cutting the rind off of the cantaloupe and not eating the rind of any melons, I don't wash them. Have I just been lucky these 56 years?

The issue with melons is that as you slice into the melon through the rind you are pushing the bad stuff into the flesh you plan to eat. At least that is the explanation I was given.

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And...how thoroughly do you wash your melons?

I'm basically with you on this, though I don't usually use soap on melons, just a good scrubbing under running water. I think I'll start now.

I do use a drop of soap in the first (and sometimes second) soaking of lettuce and other leafy greens. And I wash all fruits and veg. I never sample fruit at a grocery store. Nope. Not until it's home and washed. I'm pretty good at picking fruit by touch and smell.

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I never sample fruit at a grocery store. Nope. Not until it's home and washed. I'm pretty good at picking fruit by touch and smell.

Totally agree with this. And I never buy cut fruit - ever! Just playing with fire.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I heard the same, its the contamination from knife thru flesh thats the problem.

That is disturbing about the peaches, the Ruston peaches should be available really soon, Is the peroxide solution good against incectacides (sp?), does it clean them off or just good on the beasties?

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Cultivated mushrooms are grown in sterile soil. No germs to worry about except those possibly picked up in picking and packing.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I heard the same, its the contamination from knife thru flesh thats the problem.

That is disturbing about the peaches, the Ruston peaches should be available really soon, Is the peroxide solution good against incectacides (sp?), does it clean them off or just good on the beasties?

I'm not sure about peroxide vs. insecticides, actually. I've always figured that simply scrubbing gently and thoroughly with a soft brush under cold water was the best solution for that. Then again, as I mentioned above I'm less preoccupied by pesticides than I am by microbes.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Where does reasonable vs unreasonable precaution fall in this discussion?

Pesticides are nasty things that tend to accumulate in the body and can cause problems way down stream.

Microbes getcha now. In the US, the nasties are still thin on the ground.

I am curious whether folks who wash and peel everything and dont buy fruit cut by another also never speed, time the red light, have just one but drive, eat rare meat, etc? Its up to each of us to pick our acceptable risks, and I dont intend to preach, I am just curious.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Right around the time I took ServSafe for the first time there was a cluster of cases of e. coli where everyone (30+ people) who attended a kid's birthday party/cookout became ill and some people died. The families of the ill patients immediately went after the meat supplier with accusations. Turned out that one person had brought a whole watermelon that was cut up at the party and eaten without being washed -that was what turned out to be the source of the infections.

Not only can a melon have soil on it from the farm, but, you have to think about all the people who have handled it along its journey. You just don't know loaded it on the truck or who thumped it in the store. Remember, only about 50% of men and 70% of women wash their hands after using the restroom.

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KA - as one of the microbe conscious: I generally only wash things that I didn't grow myself. I only peel things where the peel is inedible or unpalatable (bananas, some mangoes, oranges, etc). If it came out of my garden, though, I know exactly where it's been and what's happened to it between picking and eating. I am a great believer in soil-borne microbes being good for you in small doses, and I regularly just wipe the fresh harvested carrots on the grass and chow down on them.

Equally, if I've scrubbed a market-bought carrot, I'm not going to peel it unless there are funky spots, and then I'll only spot-peel. And I also buy cut fruit from sidewalk vendors with a frequency that would alarm some people - I'm quite fond of strips of green mango with chili powder for dipping.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Melons grow on the ground and if there is animal manure used as fertilizer, they can easily pick up germs, hence the washing. The "embroidered" melons (what we North Americans call cantaloupes) with their rough skins are particularly prone to picking up bacteria. There have been a number of outbreaks of e.coli poisoning in the US from melons.

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Color me naive. Since I'm cutting the rind off of the cantaloupe and not eating the rind of any melons, I don't wash them. Have I just been lucky these 56 years?

The issue with melons is that as you slice into the melon through the rind you are pushing the bad stuff into the flesh you plan to eat. At least that is the explanation I was given.

I guess I have just been lucky these 56 years. Any future melons will be thoroughly cleaned.


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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It is to laugh (if it werent so bad).

A few months back we had a discussion of whether we thought our sinks were clean enough to wash produce in.

Now it seems that because I washed produce in my sink, it may not be clean enough to wash my dishes in. Yes, I washed a cantaloupe of unknown origin this past weekend.

Anyone else in this boat?


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Melons and squash, especially those from Mexico (which are excellent) get dipped in a tub out on the deck that I have filled with water and a little bleach, then rinsed off with a hose and left out on the deck to dry.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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As far as I can tell and this backs it up no amount of washing will help, though I have seen some mentions of bacterial growth being killed by certain spice oils if iirc Oregano and cinnamon where quite high but you still have..

E. coli doesn’t just sit around on the surface of vegetables, either. The bacteria can also penetrate into the interior tissues of the plant, where no sanitizer can reach them.
source

Then you also have this agreeing even at stupid levels isn't successful

Washing rarely achieves microbial reductions of more than 100-fold even when 100 ppm or more of free chlorine is present
source

Not that I'm trying to deter from the washing, but to me it is just an educated risk just like unpasteurised cheese, raw egg products or raw seafood. To believe washing is going to help in my eyes is to ignore it's highly unlikely to help in the worse cases. As the second link suggests its by the supply chain it will be fixed and not by the consumer at the end. As for the irradiation argument I leave that to others to discuss but for me raw food is an educated risk that I'm happy to live with.


Edited by PassionateChefsDie (log)

Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!

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