What does it take to clean fresh food?
This is a blog post that took a different turn. Initially, this was all about an inexpensive, DIY way to clean non-organic produce.
I proceeded merrily along my usual routine of googling the subject, seeking more information for a broader perspective.
After this particular bit of research and to my surprise, I'm rethinking my practices.
Like I've mentioned before, I try to buy organic produce whenever possible. It's challenging though, here in WY we don't have the availability and selection like you big city folk do. If I must go non-organic, prior to this post, I always rinse non-organic produce with water but rarely do the same with organic produce. I might have it all wrong.
I found a great article on NPR about cleaning fresh food. NPR's Alison Aubrey interviewed Jack Bishop, the senior editor of Cook's Illustrated magazine, she asked him how the kitchens at Cook's Illustrated cleaned their produce.
Mr. Bishop explained their comparative testing using four different methods.
Washed with antibacterial soap.
Washed with a vinegar solution.
Rinsed with water only.
Scrubbed with a brush.
The outside of the washed fruit was then swabbed with a Q-tip then rubbed the leftover grime into petri dishes. The samples sat for several days in an 80 degree room, after which they counted the bacteria colonies that were present.
Of the four processes used and tested, the vinegar/water solution removed 98% of the bacteria. Vinegar is a rockstar.
Vinegar solution: 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water.
How should you apply the solution? As an example, Mr. Bishop stated that he would spray an apple six times then rinse in water.
He then explained that the process is a little more labor intensive with leafy produce such as lettuce, spinach or broccoli. In this instance, it's best to let soak in a bowl, not the sink, as sinks can harbor bacteria.
Use the same vinegar/water ratio when soaking (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) and soak for a 2 minute period.
Organic or non-organic, I believe preventative rinsing is a practice who's time has come. It's a 30 second, .50 cent investment in cleaner, fresh food and, Lord knows I have vinegar in the house!
What are your thoughts?