Eating a large variety of fruits and vegetables is important to maintaining your health and increasing your body’s ability to fight off sickness and disease. What you don’t want to do, though, is to purchase all of those colorful fruits and vegetables and become sick from not cleaning them properly prior to consumption. In fact, in recent years, contaminated fruits and vegetables have been the culprit in several large outbreaks of food-borne illness. Fruits and vegetables may become contaminated when soil or fertilizers are not thoroughly washed off, even organic fruits and vegetables are grown in soils that can have E-coli bacteria present, and from when they come into contact with bacteria or harmful substances during harvesting and/or transport. But don’t let your fear of possible contamination prevent you from eating healthfully. I have developed some helpful DIY tools for washing your fruits and veggies.
When I choose products for any use in my kitchen, I prefer to use ones that are non-toxic and safe for human contact. That is precisely why I do not use store-bought sprays or washes. Some contain chlorine. Many that do not were recently tested by the University of Maine, and were found to be as effective at removing pesticides and residue as distilled water! For their expensive price tags, that’s pretty disappointing.
For my family, in a pinch, water mixed with white vinegar is a good answer. The mixture should always be made at a 50/50 ratio and should be used as a soak, rather than just a spray-on, rinse-off solution. So, you would place your produce in a large, clean mixing bowl, pour the solution over, and soak for 10-15 minutes. Then you would rinse well, drain and eat. Another tip is to add a teaspoon or 2 of salt to your mixture, when washing leafy greens, to draw out bugs. If you add the salt, it is advisable to soak your produce for at least 30 minutes to obtain the best outcome.
Because of my mold concerns for our family, I always incorporate bacteria-killing, anti-fungal citrus into my washes. A tablespoon or so of lemon juice should do, because of the acidity; however, the scientific literature available specifically references citrus seed extracts for their anti- fungal and anti-microbial properties.
I use a few drops of CitriDrops Dietary Supplement in mine. It is made of a proprietary blend of citrus seed extracts, including grapefruit seed, with purified water and vegetable glycerin as its complete list of ingredients. I add 1 drop of Citridrops per ounce of purified or distilled water to a clean spray bottle. My spray bottle holds 10 ounces, so I fill it with distilled water, and add 10 drops of Citridrops. Then, I place my produce in a colander, and spray all over with the CitriDrops mixture. I let the mixture sit on the produce for at least 2 minutes. Then, I rinse thoroughly with clean, cold water.
If you need to save time, place your fruit or veggies in a salad spinner, or colander set inside a larger bowl. Add 10-12 drops of the CitriDrops. Fill the bowl with cold water. Allow the produce to sit in the water/CitriDrops solution for 5 minutes. Lift the colander from the bowl to allow the produce to drain. Dump the dirty water that you allowed the produce to soak in. Rinse the produce with cold water. Now, you are ready to eat!
The CitriDrops will naturally and safely kill mold and bacteria. Many people with sinus allergies or chemical sensitivities are also very reactive to the presence molds/fungus on foods. This wash has worked wonders for me. My sinuses close-up almost immediately when I eat anything that has come into contact with mold—for example, an apple that has traces of mold from a storage container on its skin. When I started using the CitriDrops Dietary Supplement in my produce wash, I no longer experienced the same sinus reaction. If you are suffering sinus swelling, like I was, every time you try to eat more fruits and veggies, I recommend giving this wash a try. You have nothing to lose, except sinus discomfort.