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Ask the Expert Archive

what is the best method to wash produce, whether fruits or vegetables.

All fresh produce should be washed under running water before eating, even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, such as melons and oranges. Germs can be passed to the flesh when cutting.  Soap or any other cleaning products are not needed. Make sure that you rinse your produce thoroughly. It sometimes helps to remove any outer leaves (such as cabbage or iceberg lettuce) before rinsing them.
Wash the produce just before you plan to use it, not when you put it away.  One exception is lettuce, which can be rinsed before refrigerating so that it will stay crisp. Cut away damaged or bruised areas, and remove outer leaves or rinds. Produce that looks rotten should be thrown out. Scrub firm produce like potatoes, carrots, cucumbers and melons with a produce brush to remove dirt. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
 To wash leafy greens, first cut off the stems and throw out any bruised leaves. Wash the greens in a clean sink or large bowl full of water to remove dirt and sand. Swish the leaves around in the water to help remove sand and dirt. Greens that are very sandy may need several washings – repeat until the water is clear and then rinse under running water. When clean, remove the leaves and place in a colander or pat dry with a clean towel. Try this Rotini and Bean Salad with Lettuce.
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  1. Yarrow…lots of that around; not so much the cultete tho’. Grandma had other uses ( you mentioned dandelions. ) This only serves to remind me I need to get out beyond the yard more 😉

  2. what a wonderful walk….i will have to keep an eye out for one nrouad here….so much to learn! we saw people picking things yesterday when we were out on a hike….the fact it was at a national park makes their picking problematic i think….but i kept my mouth shut.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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