Produce Vinegar Bath

Have you ever really thought about how dirty your fruits and veggies might be, other than giving it a quick rinse before eating it? I hadn’t either, until a couple of years ago. I always figured that if the stores were selling it to their consumers, it must be fairly clean, right? Eh. Wrong.

I decided to do a test one day, to see how clean my produce really was.

I took a package of grapes that we had purchased at Costco and removed all of the grapes from the vine. I rinsed them as I usually do, and then put them into a bowl with 1 cup of vinegar, and about 4 cups of water. (I used my KitchenAid mixing bowl.) I left them in for 15-20 minutes, then poured the water off into a clear glass bowl to see how clean the water was.

The result? Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will let you decide for yourself.

Here are my grapes, pre-rinsed under warm water, before the vinegar bath.

After a 15-minute soak, this is the water that was poured off of the grapes. Ewwww!

After another rinse, my truly clean grapes, drying on my cookie racks across the sink.

I could not believe the amount of yuck that came off what I thought were already (reasonably) clean grapes! Being the freak that I am, I did the same test with all of my other fresh fruits and veggies (oranges, apples, bell peppers, etc.) and had the same, if not worse, results than my grape test had. Needless to say, I have used the vinegar bath treatment on all of my fruits and veggies ever since. And no … it doesn’t leave a vinegar taste on your food.

Not only does the vinegar bath clean your produce, but it also sanitizes it. Vinegar is an all-natural disinfectant. From what I’ve read, this simple method can remove pesticides and kill up to 98% of bacteria.

A lot of articles suggest putting your produce into the sink, and using the vinegar/water bath that way, but the thought of how many germs are in a sink totally grosses me out, so I use a nice big bowl or pot, depending on how much I happen to be bathing at the time.

I have an orange vinegar recipe that I use in my kitchen for cleaning; orange makes the vinegar smell evaporate much more quickly, and the citrus helps make it a great solvent. I’ll make another post with that recipe for you.

Well, my friends … those are my personal test results and of course the choice is up to you. Do you already bathe your produce? Will you begin bathing your produce, or do you really not care?

Here’s to clean eating,


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