According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) 76 million people get sick every year due to food borne illness. Some of the causes are E. Coli, norovirus and Hepatitis A. Certain groups have a higher chance for severe infection including infants and young children.
So how do we prevent infection? How do we get the fruit clean?
At first glance, the marketplace seems to offer many solutions. With a quick search for fruit wash on Amazon (www.amazon.com) I came across these products: Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash ($22.11), Citrus Magic Fruit and Vege Wash ($9.67) Environe Fruit and Vege Wash (18.80) I looked at the ingredients for some of these washes and came across Ethyl Alcohol, Potassium Hydrate,Baking Soda and Citric Acid . Is there a way to clean without using additional chemicals? There has to be a simple, more budget friendly way.
In Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, I found a solution (literally.) In the ‘Keeping a Cleaner, Safer Kitchen’ article from the January & February 2010 issue they discuss washing produce (http://www.cooksillustrated.com/search/results.asp?filters=&query=washing+produce.) A recipe of 3 parts water and 1 part white vinegar removed 98% of surface bacteria. This is the SAME amount the expensive fruit washes report is removed following use of their product This water/vinegar solution can be used on fruit like apples but also fruits with peels or rinds. The items with surfaces you typically remove (like an orange or watermelon) may also be harboring bacteria on the surface. This can get on your fingers and then on the fruit inside or if you cut the fruit it can be transferred to the knife and then subsequently onto the fruit. By taking a few extra steps, you can significantly cut down on harmful bacteria. Just spray the solution and then rinse with clean water.
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