Sunday, September 11, 2011

DIY Soft-Fleshed Fruit Wash

Washing fruit should be a simple task, right? I've come across a few fruit/veggie wash recipes but they often warn (or don't warn at all) that they shouldn't be used on soft-fleshed fruit. So how does you go about a thorough cleansing if you want to go beyond rubbing under running water? Find out what I did after the jump!
So here is how it all started for me long story short:

  1. Albertson's grocery store: buy one get one free deal on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
  2. Bought 2 packages of strawberries (they're one of my top favorite fruits)
  3. Went straight home
  4. Left both on counter top
  5. Cat rubbed against one like it was catnip
  6. Next day, both packages super moldy!!!
  7. "Money" into trash
  8. I thought, 'was the buy one get one deal because they're older stock they wanted to be rid of???'

I'm sure #5 has nothing to do with the mold :o)

So, I've been wary about buying a lot of fruit from the grocery store especially if that deal is going on. Then I did some veggie/fruit wash web researching and didn't find much. Last night, I was back at the grocery store and I decided to buy a pack of strawberries/blueberries/raspberries/blackberries, go straight home, wash my fruit right away to get rid of any mold spores, then refrigerate.

When I got home I researched recipes again and I've concluded there are two main washes: watered down vinegar & lemon juice with baking soda. After remembering this type of thing from school:

Image googled & found at:

I decided vinegar was the way to go. I found an article from which states,

"Even foods labeled "ready to eat" should be washed before consuming. While you can purchase so-called produce washes from the store, you needn't spend money on products. Instead, wash all fruit under running water for 60 seconds, using a vegetable brush on firm-fleshed fruit, such as apples or mangoes. If cleaning a soft-fleshed fruit, use your hands to gently cleanse the skin without bruising the flesh. For a more thorough clean, wash with 2 tbsp. of vinegar mixed with 1 pint [= 2 cups] water. Rinse with cool water and then allow to air dry before using."

So... does the thorough clean only apply to only firm-fleshed fruit or all fruit? Since I didn't have the time to try to contact the author/website to ask about it, I decided to go ahead and do it with a close watchful eye.

I first wanted to experiment so I didn't waste all of my fruit, again. I made 1/4 of the recipe (1/2 cup water and 1/2 Tbsp) to test on each piece of fruit. After a little over a minute had passed, I took the fruit out for examination. They all looked normal and held up without burning so I went on with washing all of it.

I left the fruit in the wash for a little over 2 minutes because I wanted to wash&dry the original plastic packaging to remove any mold spores that may be on it. BUT some of my fruit did burn only a very little bit. The strawberries and blueberries were fine but the raspberries and blackberries were sensitive to the vinegar solution. Definitely either time it for 1 to 1.5 minutes or, if you want a longer soak, I suggest adding extra water to dilute the vinegar more if you want a longer soak! I washed my fruit one package at a time so things didn't get out of hand. I used a slotted spoon to remove the fruit into a colander and keep the wash for the next round of fruit. Then I rinsed the fruit with cold running water, did a quick pat down with paper towels, and I left the fruit in their dry closed packages in front of the air conditioner (set on dehumidify) for about a minute. That last part may have been a mistake, only time will tell. Hopefully the dry air didn't carry mold spores. Fingers crossed.

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