Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Carrot of the Week: Everyone Wash Up

It's Carrot of the Week time!

This week's tip: Wash your bananas and squash.

Well, not just your bananas and squash.  Wash all fruits and vegetables before consumption.  And I mean all, whether you eat the skin or not.

I assume (and hope) you are washing apples, peaches, berries, pears, celery, tomatoes and potatoes - really, any produce that you most likely eat whole, skin and all.  But how many of you wash items with a peel - like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwis, and yes, bananas or squash? 

Think about this: your produce travels from the dirt (or trees and bushes), handled by who knows how many hands or machines, placed into dusty bins and crates, exposed to numerous bugs and/or animals to finally arrive at the final destination of the grocer or farmer's market.  Think about all the bacteria and dirt (not to mention other contaminants) that could stick to the outside of the produce.  

These contaminants can hitch a ride on your knife as you cut through the skin, spreading into the the flesh of the fruit or veggie (or can travel via your hands - like with bananas).  And you'll end up eating those contaminants along with your yummy fruit or vegetable.

So what should you do?  Wash all produce with cool tap water prior to using it (or storing it in your fridge).  Use a scrub brush to wash firm produce (like cucumbers, squash, cantaloupes, etc.).  No need to use soap; just cool tap water will do the job of washing the bacteria down the drain.

And remember, if you're using the zest from a lemon, lime or orange for your cooking, be sure to scrub those with a brush, as well, prior to zesting.

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