It has been proven times without number the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and the huge role it plays in determining wellness. Well, permit us to say it again…If you truly want to live and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle, then indulging in a variety of fruits and vegetables is the way to go. QED!
However, these same powerful wellness enhancers can equally create a condition of unwellness if not properly handled.
Most if not all of these fruits and vegetables come with pesticide residues on them which pose great risks to health. Even though (according to scientists,) it is being said that no matter how heavy laden these produce are with pesticides, the health benefits from consuming fruits and vegetables outweigh any potential risks from pesticide residues. It is very crucial we learn the proper techniques of handling them thereby reducing whatever health risk …most especially when there are children to think about.
Aside the risk from pesticides…there is also the one from exposure to other unhealthy conditions as found in most of our markets and also poor transportation methods…which have all contributed towards making food safety a global problem.
No fear however, with this article we will show you how you can significantly reduce the health risks. Very important for homes, restaurants, mobile caterers and even schools that prepare meals for children.
Preparation is key:
- regardless of where you did your shopping, immediately unpack your fruits and vegetables from their packaging once home
- do not chop your vegetables at the market. This is very important. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that you wash them BEFORE you peel them.
- if your shopping is “tush”…check through for those with stickers and remove them promptly before washing, so that the part underneath can be cleaned.
- get the leafy vegetables such as cabbages, lettuce, spring onions etc ready by separating the leaves or removing the stems where necessary
Water is your Friend:
- Errr…charity begins at home. Wash your hands first with clean water (preferably warm and soapy) for at least 20 seconds before proceeding with cleaning and chopping
- For the “tush” shoppers again; if you bought packaged produce labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed” or “triple washed,” do not re-wash.
- make sure the utensils, chopping board/table surface are thoroughly clean by washing with soap and rinsing properly
- check for bruises and ensure you cut these off…or else disease causing pathogens can enter the fruits and vegetable
- begin washing with water that is safe to drink…use warm water only if cooking immediately after washing is the plan. Otherwise room temperature is fine
- if you dont own a colander…do get one. It is an essential tool when washing fruits and vegetables
- know your produce. Determine the fragile ones (such as mushrooms) from those that can take rigorous washing. Their cleaning styles will differ
- do ensure you scrub produce such as potatoes and carrots, which are grown in soil, or cucumbers and melons. This will further cleanse them by removing those microbes that ordinary washing can not remove. Scrub gently to avoid damaging the produce. Invest in a good vegetable brush.
Try A Support System:
- by using a salt water solution. Soak fruits and vegetables of all varieties in water for 5 minutes with 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Then, rinse to wash out the salt.
- by using a water-and-vinegar solution. Soak produce in a mixture of water and vinegar (1/2 cup distilled white vinegar per 2 cups of water) for 5-15 minutes. Then, rinse. And rinse thoroughly. However, it has been known to affect texture and taste.
- for fruits that are clustered … its best you adopt the soaking method. That is immerse them in water and swish around. It is much easier to get the dirt out this way.
- try to wash your chopping utensils before starting work on another set
- for fruits such as apples, wipe dry with paper towels or serviettes after wash
- always wash your fruits and vegetables before storing in the fridge or freezer
- if not cooking immediately, invest in various sizes of ziploc bags for easy packaging and labeling.
Ever wonder why there usually are cases of “food poisoning” after a meal of salads or some otherwise healthy vegetable dishes?
When you follow these steps, then you increase the chances of living a wholesome life of wellness for you, your children and the whole family.
References: wikihow.com and nutritionfacts.org