Cleaning Fruits and Vegetables

Cleaning ruits and vegetables

By Penny Howard

I am guilty of simply rinsing some of my fruits and vegetables before cooking and serving them.  If I pick things in my garden, I do not even rinse them.  When I am picking tomatoes, I eat quite a bit as soon as I pick it.  There is nothing better than a sun-warmed ripe cherry tomato.  The sweet and tart flavors burst in my mouth.  But that isn’t where I am going with this. 

Better Safe Than Sorry

When I pick things from my garden, I can rest assured that there were no harmful chemicals applied to them.  I can’t make the same assumption with most produce purchased from the store.  The organic produce should be free of pesticides, but I think I should rinse anyway because of the handling and transportation. 

There are commercial fruit and vegetable washes available.  I have tried a few in the past, but not regularly.  I do use a Thieves oil-based cleaner from Young Living Essential Oils for my berries.  It seems to inhibit mold and help the berries last longer in my fridge. 

The Research is Telling

cleaning fruits and vegetables

I recently ran across an article summarizing some research from The University of Massachusetts, showing that a baking soda and water mixture was quite effective on pesticides on vegetables and fruits.  They tested different compounds, including a bleach soak.  Yuck!  They found that this bleach mixture isn’t effective at removing pesticide residues from produce. The baking soda and water combination help the pesticide residue to degrade fairly quickly.  They found that using one tablespoon of baking soda in 1.5 liters of water was more effective.  Soaking the produce in this solution for 12 minutes was effective for some pesticides, while 15 minutes was required for others. 

If the pesticide had seeped into the fruit, rather than just staying on the surface, the baking soda and water mixture didn’t remove it.  Peeling the skin of the fruit was the answer there, but you lose the nutritional value of the fruit.  So, another reason to go organic. 

Doing the Simple Things

All in all, using the baking soda and water solution will probably add some time to your meal prep, but if you are unsure of the pesticide history of your fruits and vegetables, this is an inexpensive and easy way to wash your produce and provide some peace of mind. 

Links and Resources

For more information about organic gardening, lifestyles, and living, visit our website at West Texas Organic Gardening.

If you found the information here helpful, you might also find these articles on our website of interest.

Eating in Season

Container Vegetable Gardening


If you have more specific questions or problems, you can contact us using the contact form on our website. You can also post your question to our community forum at this page; West Texas Organic Gardening Community Forum.

We have a Facebook page and love your comments, questions, or input. You can find us on Facebook using this tag. @westtexasorganicgardening

If you found this article informative, you might find these products on Amazon interesting as well.