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My wife said


My wife said that I should wash fruit before I eat it. By washing, she means to rinse it under some cold water for a few seconds.  I am sure the fruit is washed before it gets to the grocery store. Washing fruit sounds like a good idea in theory.  Why do I think it is so difficult to do that?  She suggested I do some research.  I am afraid ignorance was bliss, but here goes.

 

I looked for articles that told you to wash fruit before eating and for articles that told you it is not necessary.  You can find articles that say half of your coworkers are from another planet, but I could not find one that said it is alright to not wash fruit.  I did find many that said you should wash fruit before eating to reduce the number of bacteria and pesticides.  I looked for a study where fruit was swabbed both before and after washing to compare the amounts of bacteria, but I could not find such a study.

 

So, if I do concede it is best to wash fruit, what are the best practices?  This is some of the consensus that I found:

·          A few seconds to rinse and dry is good for non-porous fruits such as apples.

·          Rinse 10-20 seconds under running water for more porous fruits such as strawberries.

·          Rinse fruits that have inedible skin that you cut through such as avocado or watermelon, so you do not transfer bacteria to the edible portion when you cut into it.

·         Do not use anything other than water.  No soap or “fruit and vegetable wash”.

·         You do not and should not wash packaged fruit or vegetables labeled as washed.

·         You should wash what you plan on eating shortly before you eat it.  The fruit quality decreases after it is washed, and the extra moisture can grow bacteria if stored.

 

It may not do any good, but when you see your produce person at the grocery store, please tell them to stop with the misters.  The fruit and vegetables have already been picked, are not growing and do not need water.  This is done purely for aesthetics and promotes the growth of bacteria.

 

I have a story to help you remember to wash your fruit.

 

There was a man that went to the store.  He hadn’t been feeling well and had a stuffy nose.  On the way into the store from the parking lot, he coughed and covered his mouth with his hand.  He was going to pick up a couple of apples.  On the way over to the apples, he tries to be discreet, but picks a couple of crusties from his nose.  He had taken some decongestant, and this has dried him out a little which has made him itchy, so he scratches his backside – just a little though.  The one thing he is particular about is his apples.  He digs though and handles a good number of them to make sure that at $2.75 a pound he gets two that look good.  He bags them so they don’t get dirty on the way to the check out.  Here you come along, doing your grocery shopping, apples on your list.  Maybe washing fruit is a good idea after all.

6 Comments


Well, I loved this article! Maybe I'm gross but sometimes being greatly descriptive is a must!

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I was trying to talk myself into washing fruit. For others, saying it removes bacteria and pesticides may have been enough without the sick guy illustration.

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Guest
Feb 23

Eeeewwwww.... I may never eat fruit again.....

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Did I go over the top with my story? You should see the things my editor takes out.

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Guest
Feb 23

Well… I certainly could have used without that last paragraph, but otherwise a very interesting article!

As someone that does most of the meal prep for my family, I have noticed that washing fruit (specifically berries) in addition to removing small bits of leaf and visible dirt, really does help give the fruit a fresher, cooler taste. Even ignoring the health aspects of removing bacteria, it most certainly must be removing dust, dirt, and other debris that we can’t see that causes the fruit to not feel or taste the best.


I do worry about water waste when rinsing fruit, but it’s worth it to me.

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The thought of tasting better never crossed my mind. I will try it. I agree on saving water, but think there are better ways to do that. I am going to start washing fruit this weekend.

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