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It’s summertime, which means it’s prime season for making fruit bowls and vegetable-rich salads. Research conducted by The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station compared commercial produce washes, dish soap, and plain tap water in their ability to reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. They found that tap water was just as beneficial as the commercial washes and dish soap.
In fact, the most important factor for reducing pesticide residues is the friction of rubbing the produce under running water. (Washing fruits and veggies helps to remove some but not all pesticide residues. To reduce exposure, buy organic when possible.) But what about soft-skinned and delicate fruit and veggies? Soaking in diluted white vinegar is a great way to reduce bacterial and fungal contamination.
1. Add 1 1/3 cup vinegar and 1 tbsp salt and stir to dissolve.
3. In your vinegar and salt solution, soak thin-skinned produce (like berries and leafy greens) for 5 minutes and firm-skinned (like apples and squash) for 10 minutes, then rinse under running water.
4. Fill a large bowl partway with 4 cups of water (aim for a similar temperature to the produce) and let it sit to let any remaining dirt come off and float to the surface.
For more kitchen “how-tos,” keep reading: