Washing/cleaning fruit

I don’t have a lot of fruit of my own to eat , many of my trees/grafts are too young. I still purchase lots of fruit from the store. I have no idea what it has been sprayed with. How do you clean your fruit? I give mine a good brisk rub down under cold running water, is that sufficient?

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When I bring home fruit or vegetables the first thing I do is wash them in a large bowl of soap and water, Whether they need it or not I don’t know but when I consume the fruit I’m satisfied that I have done what is reasonable to eliminate pesticide consumption and whatever else gets on the fruit from others handling them.

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I like that, soap is probably not a bad idea.

I usually give store-bought fruit a good cold water rinse and hope for the best, but I’m pretty casual. I think the insecticide issue is less important that the human-borne germs such as e-coli, because lots of people handle fruit before we get it. And I should probably be more careful.

I don’t think any kind of washing is going to be effective against farm chemicals, primarily because by harvest anything put on in the field is either broken down (my hope, anyway) or absorbed by the fruit’s skin.

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I usually wash strawberries and apples, everything else is pretty much consumed as is…maybe nectarines will get a quick spray down.

A couple hours in warm soapy water, in the sink. Then a good cold water rinse.

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If I do wash, only right before I’m ready to use, washing strawberries or raspberries is usually considered a bad idea as the fruit absorbs the water and promotes rotting in the fridge


I use a T or so of hydrogen peroxide in a tub of water, then rinse

This is largely to prevent rots from spreading

I’m unsure why you would wash fruit…

Wow…you guys are scaring me. I almost always just eat store bought fruit with no washing whatsoever. Oh well…hasn’t killed me yet.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Exactly! I guess I’m just trying to increase my resistance to germs and pesticides! (yea, I know it doesn’t really work that way)

Derby, I wash all my fruit and veggies with plain old Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent. NOT the kind with anti-microbial chemicals (no need to buy any soap with that in it - plain old soap (actually detergent), water and friction will do just fine for your hands and your fruits & veggies). If I am washing cantaloupe, I use a soft scrub brush. Matthew, you ask why? Because if I’m not buying organic veggies or fruit, I want to wash off any surface pesticides. Both both organic and non-organic produce, I am also washing off bacteria from either improper fertilizing (remember - I live very close to Mexico, and there has been issues with produce from Mexico being fertilized with waste products that were not fully composted. Gross), as well as other people’s hand germs. That produce sitting on the supermarket shelf can get touched by an awful lot of people before I grab it and put it in my basket. Don’t want other people’s germs in my mouth. Ick. I’m an RN, so probably a little more paranoid than most folks out there, lol! From my garden? I just rinse the dust off. I KNOW what’s on my fruits and veggies.

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When I see clips of people picking produce from huge fields I always wonder where the clean restrooms with hand washing facilities are located…

Yes, survival of the fittest is the rule. [quote=“thecityman, post:12, topic:6482”]
I guess I’m just trying to increase my resistance to germs and pesticides! (yea, I know it doesn’t really work that way)

Well it does actually. Not always a good idea though! I’m from the school of being exposed. Recent data suggests so many peanut allergies are because we do not expose young children to them early enough. I purposely exposed my kids to stuff early in life.
The idea of holding off on giving children potential allergens is
based on the theory that doing so is liable to increase the chance that
the child will develop an allergy to that food. But amid all the fears
and cautionary advice, what many parents may not realize is that the
National Institutes of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics
have both determined that there is no convincing medical evidence that
actually backs up that hypothesis.
Moreover, the desire to play it safe might actually end up increasing the likelihood that children will ultimately develop a peanut allergy. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in October 2008 comparing Israeli children with British ones found
peanut allergy to be 10 times more prevalent among the British kids than
in Israel, where babies are routinely given immensely popular peanut
puffs called Bamba (or its generic imitators), which has the look and
feel of Cheez Doodles but tastes like peanut butter. The study found
that 69 percent of Israeli infants consume peanut products by the time
they are nine months old, compared to just 10 percent of their British
counterparts. (The participants in both groups were Jewish, to minimize
any underlying genetic differences.) That finding is bolstered by a
study published this May in Food Research International, which found that feeding peanuts to pregnant and nursing mice protected their offspring from sensitization to peanuts.

This is getting kind of off topicish, sorta, I guess, but I think it’s worth the time.

I belong to the school arguing for exposure to germs and allergens, although there are limits, to be sure. I’m a grocery store employee and over the last five+ years I’ve handled an awful lot of other people’s money and tons of products they, and scores of others, have touched. People sneeze and wheeze and dribble and drip and in spite of those handy little sanitizer wipes people like to use to wipe off their grocery carts I’m awash in a zillion germs all the time.

It’s almost axiomatic in this biz that you’re going to get sick a fair amount the first year or two, and then not much. And so it goes. We just don’t get that sick that often.

But that’s not the only thing about germs that intrigues me. I think that the idea that the human system is actually designed and accustomed to interact with a huge colony of diverse and specialized germs -in the skin and gut and throughout- is almost certainly true. Research suggesting that some mental issues are associated with an inadequate digestive (i.e., under-colonized with the right bacteria) is provocative, to say the least. Resistance to disease, the way you digest food, what you are likely to become allergic to -all may be hugely influenced by your mother’s gut, skin, and vaginal bacteria. And that’s before we start getting handled by strangers, all of whom may make a bacterial contribution as large as any other social influence!

People who have been exposed to snake venom in ever increasing doses develop enough antibodies to survive serious bites -and their blood can be used to help other bite victims. Lore is that ancient Egyptian royalty might condition their bodies to tolerate a poison that they could put into a dish and share with an enemy … they played for keeps, I guess …

The science isn’t complete, obviously, and that’s the way it is with science. But before we declare complete and total war on germs we need, I think, to take a step back and consider. I like to think that we need to embrace this part of nature rather than try to overwhelm it. Not only are many so-called germs bigger players on this planet than we, some may well be essential partners.

Just my humble opinion, and other views welcome!

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I agree with you, Mark. I am pro “10 second rule”. I was an NICU nurse for many years. As well as a school nurse. Thorughout my carerre, I am sure I’ve been exposed to a bazillion different germs. I never, ever get sick. I cannot even remember the last time I’ve had a cold. I do not advocate the use of anti-microbial soaps, as I think it causes resistant organisms, and frankly, it makes you just “too clean”. Just a good hand-washing with soap, enough time and friction is plenty. But. I draw the line with fruits and veggies that I don’t grow. Since a lot of our produce here in S. California comes out of Mexico, Central and South America, and some of their fertilizing practices are suspect, and, having watched my husband nearly die from food poisoning last year, I’ve developed a very healthy respect for certain pathogens. So, for me, in this instance, I wash my fruits and veggies. There are some very pathogenic and very scary organisms found in fecal material, and I sure as heck do not want to ingest them. Will I always get sick? Nope. But, all it takes is that “one time”. My husband is outrageously healthy. He runs 5 miles every morning. He lifts and makes any 25 year old guy look like a weakling (he’s nearly 60). Our neighbors affectionately call him “Superman”. I spent 48 hours trying not to panic when he got sick, and let me tell you, it takes a LOT to panic this old nurse who has seen it all. And, it wasn’t even one of the more “scary” organisms, either. But it brought him (and me) to our knees.

So, I think it’s very important to expose yourself to those normal sorts of not so dangerous pathogens throughout your lifetime - that’s how we develop healthy, strong immune systems. But, common sense prevails for me, and the stuff you can get from unwashed fruits and veggies are enough to convince me that washing them is the smart and safe thing to do :slight_smile: I know we all have different opinions, but when you’ve had some first-hand experience with something that can kill you, it makes you think twice.

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I use a fruit wash at home, foamy soap from the hand dispenser at work for things like apples and plums.

Strawberris, rinse and pat just before eating.

If I’m cooking something, just rinse, or rinse and scrub if there is visible dirt that doesn’t easily come off.

I would never lick a doorknob.

And I relate to the person who wondered where the clean washing facilities (and time) are for the fruit pickers and handlers.


I could not agree with you more, and in fact I was thinking of you, your experience as a nurse, and your experience with your husband’s food poisoning. I remember that clearly, and thanks be that you finally found a doctor willing to treat him appropriately (with your input!)

When I was 14 we played basketball at a gym that had rough walls and crude showers- I remember scraping up against the wall, and later brushing up against a player during the game. We skipped showering until we got home and I think it was the next day that my lymph nodes swelled up and I got these lovely red streaks on my right forearm. Dr. Van Pelt, a wonderful man who also delivered me, that was the way it was back there back then, got excited, took pictures, and pumped me full of penicillin for a couple of days. And that was the end of that. May have been life-saving, and in any event I don’t regret it.

Point being that I will happily resort to man-made solutions when necessary, but that I am skeptical of trying to overwhelm nature. Sometimes we need to do the adjusting, methinks, and quit trying to make everything “safe”.

Sounds like you and I have a lot to agree about!



Here we do the same as Hoosier…a little dishwashing liquid, a brief wash, rinse…eat.