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Learning how to properly wash vegetables is one of the most important parts of meal prep. After all, if produce is improperly washed, or not washed at all, food safety can be compromised. This can put a damper on any homemade dish, no matter how delicious it may be.
Properly washing vegetables is not difficult, but vegetables are a different bunch and each type has slightly different requirements. So how do you know the right technique? In the following guide, we explain the best cleaning method for each type of vegetable, according to experts.
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Why You Should Always Wash Your Vegetables
Whether you eat vegetables raw or cut and cook them, washing vegetables is an important step in any recipe. According to Dr. Kimberly Baker, RD, LD, director of the Clemson Extension Food Systems and Safety Program Team, this is very important for food safety, as cleaning removes foodborne contaminants and pathogens such as E. coli. Because of listeria and salmonella. Washing is especially important because vegetables that are consumed raw are not exposed to heat that destroys harmful bacteria.
how to wash vegetables
In general, all produce should be washed in cold (45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit) running water, says Baker. The cold temperature prevents pathogens from entering the pores of the vegetables during washing, and the movement of running water removes dirt and pathogens from the surface of the vegetables. This exposes the vegetables to bacteria on a continual basis.
You don’t even need to use detergents like soap or vinegar or generate detergents. According to Baker, soap is not a food-grade item, so it can cause chemical contamination, and for vinegar to effectively kill pathogens, it must be soaked in vegetables for a time and concentration that alters the quality of the vegetables. (If so, you might pickle your produce.) What about washing the produce you see at the grocery store? “Produce Wash has not been proven to be more effective at washing vegetables than cold running water,” says Baker. That said, save your money and use plain water when washing your vegetables.
Here are some tips for washing vegetables of all kinds.
Ngoc Min Go
Cutting leafy greens with a sharp knife before washing them helps prevent bruising, says Olivia Roskowski, chef and instructor of plant-based culinary arts at the Culinary Education Institute. Then gently submerge the leaves in a salad spinner filled with cold water, working in batches as needed. If the vegetables are very gritty, repeat the process, then spin dry and serve or cook as desired.These steps also apply to chopped cabbage and bagged salads. .
Broccoli, broccolini, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables are low in sand, says Roszkowski, so it’s okay to wash them before and after cutting. “In general, it’s best to cut produce because it’s easier to cut when it’s dry. Place the florets in a strainer [then] No need to scrub, you can use a vegetable peeler to remove blemishes.
celery and fennel
Celery and fennel should be rinsed quickly before cutting, says Roszkowski. “If sand gets in when you’re cutting the inside of either vegetable, put it in a strainer and [run them under] “These vegetables are tougher and can withstand more water pressure during the cleaning process.
Zucchini and other summer squashes
Rinse summer squash and zucchini under running water and scrub with a soft-bristled or silicone brush, says Baker. Use brushes only on produce to avoid cross-contamination. Scrubbing will lift the dirt on the surface of the vegetables, making it easier to wash away the dirt with water.
pumpkins and winter pumpkins
Winter squash doesn’t eat the skin like squash or butternut squash, but it does require cleaning. As Baker explains, pathogens reside in the skin, and when you cut the squash, pathogens can spread to edible parts via a knife, cutting board, or your hands. Rinse and gently scrub the skin with a stiff bristle brush. Again, use this brush only for cleaning produce.
Ngoc Min Go
Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and radishes should be washed under cold running water while scrubbing, says Baker. This can be done with a produce brush and will help remove pathogens and dirt. Continue washing vegetables until all visible dirt is removed, prepping as needed.
The trick to washing mushrooms is to wash them just before you need them. If you wash the mushrooms and put them back in the fridge, they will be slimy in no time. To properly wash mushrooms, cut off the stems, dip the caps into a bowl of water, and move to remove any grit or dirt. Drain, pat dry with a clean towel, and use as needed. please.
beans and peas
“Beans, peas, and other small vegetables can be washed in a colander,” Baker says. [the vegetables] Gently stir the beans or peas while the water passes through so that all surfaces are thoroughly washed, Baker adds.
onions and garlic
Onions and garlic may have a protective skin, but they should be washed before cutting, Baker says. It’s a precaution against pathogens. [or handled]’ explains Baker. If necessary, you can also use a soft-bristled produce brush to remove dirt.
eat fruits as vegetables
When washing tomatoes, eggplants, and other fruits that are treated as vegetables, remove the sticker before washing. Otherwise, once wet, the sticker will stick strongly to the delicate pulp of the vegetable, Roszkowski says. Be sure to wash it under cold running water before cutting, she adds. Washing after cutting will absorb moisture and adversely affect flavor and texture. “Ah [clean] A damp cloth can also be used to remove sand and dust,” adds Roszkowski.
Store-bought and homemade
Compared to store-bought produce, farmers’ markets and home gardens generally carry more sand because they travel shorter distances, says Roszkowski. Therefore, depending on the vegetable, it is especially important to rinse local produce well before cutting, and again immediately afterwards. Items such as tubers may need extra scrubbing to remove caked-on dirt, but local lettuce tends to be more delicate, so it’s best to avoid prolonged soaking in cold water. .
What about supermarket produce? Roszkowski says these items are typically cleaned commercially for aesthetic reasons. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to wash store-bought vegetables before using them.
triple wash green
Some packaged produce, especially leafy greens, may be pre-washed. Generally, pre-washed vegetables don’t need to be washed at home, but there’s no harm in rinsing them again using the steps above, according to the Centers for Disease Control.