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Ask the Expert Archive

How do I remove dirt and pesticides from my produce?

 

Q. As a child I was bummed that when I went to help my parents out by washing their car, I learned I actually had to rub every inch of the car, or the film of dirt remained. Hosing it down with water did not clean it. How much “rubbing” of each blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, etc., is necessary to remove dirt and insecticides?

 

A. Washing all produce (conventional or organic) is important.  Washing can remove bacteria, dirt, and pesticides that are on produce.  The best way to wash berries is with a kitchen sprayer.  Use a colander to gently turn the fruit as you spray.  (If you do not have a sink sprayer, place berries in a colander into a large pot of tepid water.  Move the basket in and out of the water several times.  Change the water until it runs clear.  Do this quickly to prevent loss of flavor and texture.) Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetable under running tap water, including those with skins or rinds that are not eaten. Gently rub the outer layer with your hands and use a soft brush for heartier skins/rinds like potatoes or cantaloupe. Soaps or any other cleaning product are not needed.   Please Note: Packaged fruits and vegetables labeled ready to eat, washed or triple washed do not need to be washed.

 
 
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The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.Read Her Full Bio

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