Welcome to March and Happy National Nutrition Month®! NNM is a campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, during the month they celebrate and stress the importance of all things related to nutrition. Some of the main points they are stressing in the year of 2019 is making food safety part of your everyday routine. We at Martin’s would love to help you guys accomplish this goal by giving you some tips on how and when the right time is to wash fruits and vegetables. If you want to learn more just continue reading below!

How To Wash Fruits & Veggies

  1. Wash hands well with soap and warm water before and after handling produce to prevent the spread of illness-causing bacteria. Counter tops, cutting boards, and utensils should also be clean.
  2. Even if you don’t plan on eating the skin of the produce, it still needs to be washed to prevent any dirt or bacteria from being transferred from the surface when cutting into it.
  3. Rinse all types of produce under cool running water. It is not recommended to use soap or commercial produce wash to wash produce.
  4. To clean thoroughly, gently rub soft produce and firmly scrub hard produce with a clean produce brush.
  5. After washing, dry produce with a paper towel or clean cloth to further reduce the number of bacteria that may be present on the surface.
  6. Cut out any damages or bruised areas of the produce before Do not consume produce that looks rotten.
  7. When cutting or peeling produce be sure to separate cutting boards and utensils from those used for raw meats to avoid cross-contamination. ENJOY!

Examples of soft produce: pitted fruits, berries, apples, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower
Examples of firm produce: melons, citrus with rinds, squashes, cucumber, potatoes, carrots 

When To Wash Fruits & Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are best kept in their raw dirty form right up until before you eat them. Why? When we wash fruits and vegetables, we are introducing moisture to them that was not there before. This causes them to rot quicker than storing them in their raw dirty form.

What if I meal prep?
Meal prepping is a great way to get your meals ready for the week ahead. It is perfectly okay to wash and cut produce a week ahead of time. Just be sure to eat them throughout the week or else they may go bad.

What about pre-washed produce?
There are some options available for pre-cut, packaged produce items that are marketed as pre-washed and ready-to-eat items. These are safe to consume without washing at home. Just be sure that during storage and preparation these items do not come into contact with unclean surfaces or utensils to avoid cross-contamination.

Sources:
Klemm, S. (2018). Keeping Your Produce Safe. [Webpage]. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/four-steps/wash/keeping-your-produce-safe
FDA. (2018). Produce: Selecting and Serving it Safely. [Webpage]. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm114299