Over the last several months, I have been making some changes to the foods that my family eats. One of them has been only buying dairy products that come from cows not treated with hormones. This includes milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. I am also only buying meat that comes from animals not treated with hormones, antibiotics, steroids, etc. This all started when my husband and I had chicken breasts for dinner that were so big we both felt pretty disgusted by it. I mean seriously, that chicken would have had to be 15 pounds and that does not sound “natural” to me at all. I got to thinking, what else are we consuming that we don’t know about?
Over the last couple of years, I have read a lot about buying organic and what things really matter and what things are not as important to buy organic. One of my motivations to increase the size of my garden this year is to have more organic fruit and veggies without having to take out a line of credit to pay for them. There is a group of fruits and veggies called the dirty dozen that have the highest pesticide level and the clean 15 which are less likely to have high pesticide exposure. I have to admit that many of the things on the list of the dirty dozen are things that I do not often buy organic because the cost is just so much higher. I guess in an ideal world I would just buy everything that is the most healthy for my family, but in reality cost does matter.
I have researched fruit and veggie washes, but have not found any that really seem to work better than the homemade kind which is a fraction of the price. Now before I tell you how to make your own veggie wash, let me say that it will not remove 100% of the pesticides, but it will certainly be much better than using just water alone. It will remove almost 100% of the bacteria and mold that is on your produce. You make the veggie wash with just three simple ingredients…water, lemon juice and white vinegar! That’s it. How does it work you might be asking yourself? Well lets take a look at that. Lemon juice has many disinfecting properties in it. The ph of lemon is 2.3 which makes it 6 times more acidic than vinegar leading it to be a wonderful disinfectant. The high level of acidity in lemons changes the pH level in bacterial cells, creating an acidic environment in which microbes can’t survive. White vinegar is another great disinfectant working in much the same way. By pairing the vinegar and the lemon juice together you are creating a great veggie wash that is completely edible, so you don’t have to worry about the residue that can get left behind from some other cleaners. If you want the veggie wash to be completely organic don’t forget to buy an organic lemon!
Here is how you make the veggie wash. Combine 1 part white vinegar for each 3 parts of water. Add 1/3 c. of white vinegar to your spray bottle along with two tablespoons of lemon juice. Then add 1 cup of water. Shake to combine. I use the spray bottle to mist all of our fruits and veggies when I clean them. Spray on the produce then use your hand or a soft brush to clean produce. I have heard recommendations of letting the wash sit on the produce for 2-5 minutes. When I buy strawberries, I spray them generously with the mixture and let sit for a couple of minutes before giving them a good rinse. Don’t forget to rinse your veggies well. When I buy grapes, I make a big batch of veggie wash in a bowl in the sink (1 part vinegar to three parts water and 2 tbsp. of lemon juice per cup of water) and let my grapes soak in it for a few minutes before giving them a good rinse.\
Ok so there you have it. A simple and super inexpensive way to wash your veggies and remove the pesticide (a least some of it) and kill virtually all of the bacterial and mold that may be on your produce.
What do you buy organic? Do you currently use any type of produce wash? I would love to hear your feedback! Thanks for reading!