UpWash? No, not aerodynamics – food, fruit and veg. Upscale, UpWash…. I needed a “U” word and I’d written a post about the importance of washing fruits and vegetables, so…
UpWash your fruit and vegetables before eating!
Mom taught me to wash all fruit and veg before eating. I used to just give them a rinse: apples, and other fruit eaten with the skin on, were run under the tap and maybe wiped dry; veg may or may not have been tossed into a collander and given a cursory rinse – rinsed yes, but not UpWashed! Now I even wash oranges before I peel them. My consciousness raising about washing fruit and veg has been a journey.
In the 1990’s, I met a woman in the fresh veg department at the supermarket. She was bemoaning the price of the carrots, so I suggested a bag of carrots that was on special. She sighed: “They’re not organic – but I suppose they can be scraped.” I was confused. Said nothing. Since escaping my ex-husband’s mother’s watchful and critical eye, I’d stopped scraping carrots. I didn’t even peel potatoes (apparently they have more pesticides per weight than any other vegetable!!!) I rinsed them, like apples, and lettuce, broccoli or grapes.
One day, also in Victoria in the 1990’s, while eating an apple a woman I barely knew walked up to me, snatched the apple right out of my hand, looked at the end of the core, and commanded: “Stop eating this apple right now!” Then pointed at the end, and said: “All the pesticides and fertilizers are lodged right there. There’s nothing left of THIS Apple.” And she threw it away. I was dumbfounded. How could a woman I barely know feel she could be so commanding with me and take away my apple? But also because I didn’t have a clue of what she was talking about. Yeah, I knew about pesticides, but I’d washed the apple – besides, it was MY apple, not HERS!
Now I know better. Apples were number 1 on the dirty fruits and veg list for the last 5 years. This year they dropped to number 2. Pushed out by strawberries winning top spot, with 17 – count ’em 17 – pesticides found on one little strawberry! Scary! Scrub those apples! And strawberries? Can’t really scrub those. Better buy organic.
While visiting Budapest in 1999, I bought a bunch of grapes in a market and asked the clerk if there was somewhere I could wash them. He took them from me, placed them in a bowl in the sink, filled the bowl with water, then tipped out that water, refilled the bowl and let them stand for a few minutes, dumped out the water, rinsed them and filled the basin again. Again I was dumbstruck – not only with my total lack of the language, but also with the serious washing of a bunch of grapes – and the grey cloudy, water after the first soaking! When he was satisfied, he placed them in a plastic bag and handed them to me: “Clean now.” Grapes are number 6 on this year’s dirty dozen, with 15 different pesticides on a single grape!!!
I now put all my fresh fruit and veg to soak in basins of water, and after reading Jason Tetro’s informative article on the Huffington Post website about a plant’s natural protective wax, that not only blocks all kinds of things not suitable for human consumption, but also hols them, I think I may finally start washing them in a vinegar rinse.
The scariest thing from this year’s dirty list is the news about kale, and leafy greens in general. Although they don’t have a high enough numbers of pesticides to get on the dirty dozen list, they do have residues of organophosphates and carbamate insecticides, which are being phased out due to their toxicity. Because these pesticides are highly toxic, EWG has put them as a + on the dirty dozen, along with hot peppers.
How about you? How do you clean fresh fruit and veg before eating?