How to Wash Produce Naturally


In an ideal world, we'd all be able to find and afford organic produce at all times. Realistically, it's not possible for everyone. I live in Nebraska, one of the farming centers of the United States, and it's still difficult for me to find good quality organic produce, and when I do it is often ridiculously overpriced.

Don't get me wrong, I still buy organic produce. Just not nearly as often as I would like.

So, what do you do when you can't buy organic? Do you stop eating produce?

Some may disagree with me, but I think that the benefits far outweigh the risks when choosing to eat conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.

There are a few things you can do to lower your risks of pesticide and herbicide exposure. One of those is to wash your produce in the following way…

How to Wash Produce Naturally

To get your produce as clean as possible (and as pesticide free as possible), you will want to take a few extra steps. Most people just put their fruit in a strainer and rinse it with water in the sink, but we are going to actually let our produce soak for awhile in a food-safe cleaning solution.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar (get it here)
  • Filtered or distilled water
  • A large bowl
  • A large strainer (I like this one)
  • A large kitchen towel

Step One:

First you will want to add 1 cup of white vinegar to a large bowl. Next, poor filtered water into the bowl until it is about half full. Add your fruit or vegetables to the bowl. Fill the rest of the bowl with more filtered water until the produce is almost entirely submersed.

If you cannot submerse all of the produce at once, you can come back periodically and turn the produce over so that the uncovered portion will get a good washing as well.

Let your produce sit in the water and vinegar solution for 10-15 minutes.

Step Two:

Remove your produce from the water and vinegar solution and place in a strainer. Rinse the produce thoroughly to remove the solution and any residue that still remains.

I could not get a good picture of what the water looked like after washing my grapes, but Kitchen Stewardship has a post about Washing Produce Naturally that demonstrates a lot of the nasty stuff she removed from her berries!

Step Three:

Once you have rinsed the produce, place your fruits or vegetables on a clean towel on the counter to dry. Once it is reasonably dry you can put in a bowl or other container and store in the fridge. The best part is that your produce will be all ready to eat!

What non-organic fruits and vegetables do you sometimes buy? Will you be trying this method in the future?

This post featured at Savoring Saturdays.


Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS