Produce has pores!

The surface of a tomato – an electron photomicrograph

Back a few years ago when the economy was tough and pennies were being pinched, I worked for a “natural” products company. Most people were not interested in looking at our products let alone buying, so I reverted to demonstrating washing grapes with their natural dish soap! It worked for the most part. Until one day, one of my friends took me aside and explained to me that they could taste something funky which meant the grapes were not truly clean. They said: “You can do better than this. Why don’t you make your own?”

Over the next 3 or 4 months, I went to every major grocery store chain, looking for their respective fruit and vegetable wash. One-by-one I put them through my taste test, quickly becoming appalled. Every product that I sampled left a funky taste in my mouth! When I asked people if they used a wash they told me that most don’t work because they leave a funky taste behind, and some just used water.

If you want to clean something you need to know what the surface looks like, right? You are probably thinking, it’s just a grape or a tomato, or a cucumber, how difficult can that be?

Did you know that fruits and vegetables have pores? They are called “stoma” or “stomata”. These pores take in carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis, and to release oxygen. These pores then close reducing water loss in hot or dry conditions. In the right conditions, they will actually sweat, much like human pores. (Click here to read more on pores in produce via this Wikipedia link). These stomata are tiny, microscopic and critical for the photosynthesis process and very difficult to clean.

The Surface of a Strawberry
an electron photomicrograph
See the folds in the surface – this is why it’s notoriously #1 on the Dirty Dozen

With two requirements and a bunch of knowledge, we set out to develop a new wash. First, it had to be an effective wash, removing wax and pesticides, all while paying attention to all of those stomata. Second, it must be a “residue free” wash. After rinsing, the solution needs to be gone!

A side note for a moment. Anyone who wears cosmetics knows how important it is to clean their skin at night. Cleaning fruits and vegetables are similar in that sense. When it is achieved, your skin will be fresh and vibrant. This is the same for fruits and vegetables. When effectively washed they will be cleaner, crispier and tastier.

It is my firm belief that when given two choices of the same food to eat, and one tastes better we all eat the best tasting option! If you simply try my wash, you will not be disappointed.

#goodtastelesswaste #cleanercrispiertastier #bestkitchensecret

I can’t get these apples clean!

Back row has been cleaned, front row is still very waxy!

Have you ever had this happen to you… or perhaps one of your kids took a bite out of an apple, promptly saying this apple doesn’t taste good then throwing it away before you have a chance to do anything?

I recently received an email from one of my customers saying, “I buy a smaller apple called rockets and they have a wax over them I have noticed that no matter how long I soak them I can’t get all this wax off, any suggestions?” You can only imagine my interest level and concern as I read their note. You see, I love solving problems… yet I’m concerned that my wash might not be working as advertised.

Further conversation revealed the following, my customer writes: “I have never had a problem with the wash getting the wax off but was unsure if I could use it directly on the fruit. I do love love love this wash as all the others I have used leaves a gross after taste!”

With this new knowledge, I offered the following… “Put a squirt or two directly on the apple then rub it in your hands… I personally had an apple yesterday that took 30 seconds or so of this kind of action to get it clean… when you do this you can feel the wax disappear”.

This phenomenon is quite common when dealing with fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers or apples, often times the wax is thicker or harder than normal and takes some extra effort to get it removed.

What I failed to mention to my customer is that the surface of the apple will go from being sticky to kind of slimy to almost squeaky. One of my product demonstrators encourages people to lick the apple before they clean it, then once again after it’s been washed, saying that you can really tell the difference. I’ve done this and he is right!

So just in case you didn’t realize it, you can use the wash undiluted on your fruits or vegetables. You can hand wash zucchini, apples, cucumbers or watermelon etc. When you do, notice the change in how the surface feels!

If you have questions or examples of how my Fruit and Vegetable wash has worked for you please post on my Life’s Pure Balance Facebook page.

When your produce is truly clean, it will taste better, raw or cooked doesn’t matter. The flavor will be cleaner, crispier and tastier!

Go to   fruitandveggiewash.com for additional product information. 

#cleanercrispiertastier          

To Avoid Food-borne Illness, Wash Your Vegetables and Fruits

Blog_07162014_5767011_sIt’s midsummer in Minnesota, and despite the weather roller-coaster we’ve been riding, seasonal fruits and vegetables are ripe for the picking. Those of us with gardens are seeing tomatoes plump up and cucumbers and zucchini ripen overnight. Grocery store shoppers are enjoying fresher, more local produce, too. Before you sink your teeth into your favorite summertime fruit or veggie, take a moment to consider your safety. Whether you’re pulling your snack out of the ground or plucking it from a store shelf, all produce has been exposed to soil and water that may carry contaminants. If you’re buying from a store, your produce has been handled by many people and transported by truck or rail to your shopping cart. Hundreds of food products have been recalled by the FDA since the beginning of the year, including many fresh produce foods. The harmful bacteria salmonella and listeria monocytogenes are the primary offenders. How Do You Avoid Illness? Wash, Wash, Wash! To avoid getting sick from your favorite fruits and veggies, you need to get out the soap and water. Here are some tips for washing your produce.

  • Only wash produce when you’re ready to eat or cook it. Washing it before you store it may actually increase bacterial growth.
  • Wash your hands with warm soap and water before you wash your produce. You do not want to transfer germs on your hands to your food.
  • Clean your tools, including knives, cutting boards, and countertops, to avoid germ transfer.
  • Wash away bacteria. But bleach and dish detergents are no-no’s because produce can absorb the chemicals. I recommend washing your fruits and veggies with an organic, plant-based rinse.
  • Rub or soak vegetables to wash away bacteria. Firm fruits such as melons can be scrubbed with a brush.
  • Dry produce with a paper towel or clean cloth. This can also remove bacteria.
  • Trim outermost leaves of cabbage or head lettuce.

Produce-Specific Tips Some fruits and vegetables require extra care. Use these tips to make sure you’re washing your produce properly.

  • Soft fruits such as peaches and plums: Wash under running water and dry.
  • Firm produce such as apples and cucumbers: Wash well to remove any waxy preservative. Peeling is also an option.
  • Leafy greens:Discard outer leaves and soak the individual remaining leaves in water before rinsing them under the tap. Some people use vinegar on greens, but that will change the veggie’s taste and texture.
  • Grapes, cherries, and berries:Don’t wash these fruits until you eat or use them. Before you store them, get rid of any moldy or spoiled fruit. Wash under running water when ready to eat.

Summer is the time when many of us relish the tasty juiciness of fresh produce. Washing your fruits and vegetables will ensure that you’re safe while doing so. To learn more about keeping produce safe and healthy, contact me!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance