If you think washing fruits and vegetables just consists of running them under tap water, you're in for a surprise. The vegetables and fruits we get from markets and shops are full of dirt, bacteria and microbes and they need good proper washing and cleaning. So, here's a detailed guide on how to wash fruits and vegetables the correct way to guarantee your safety and health.

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How to wash fresh vegetables; tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, beans, zucchini and okra

The best way to wash vegetables and ensure that they're free of any dirt or germs, is to soak them in water and vinegar. Vinegar is an acid that helps quickly kill bacteria without affecting their freshness. Bring a bowl that's big enough for the vegetables, fill it with cold water, then add a quarter cup of vinegar and leave the vegetables in for two minutes, then rinse them with running water and brush if necessary.

It is preferable to wash vegetables before cutting them, and wash your hands well with soap and water before washing vegetables. This prevents a large amount of bacteria and germs from being transferred between your hands and the vegetables. Also, some vegetables soften easily if they're washed after cutting them, like okra.

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How to clean potatoes and sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes and potatoes are harvested from the ground, so they are more full of dirt impurities. To make sure they're completely clean, when washing them use vinegar and a brush to clean the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a bowl filled with cold water, add two tablespoons of white vinegar and immerse the potatoes for two minutes. Then clean the potatoes afterwards with a brush to remove all impurities and dirt on the surface, and then rinse them under running water and dry them with a clean towel.

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How to clean mushrooms

Mushrooms are very fine fungi, so a lot of people do not recommended that you soak them in water or leave them under running water. To clean mushrooms, you can actually use a wet towel or soft mushroom cleaning brush and wipe with mushrooms on all sides to remove the dirt and bacteria. You can quickly wash the mushrooms afterwards in cold water and dry them right away. You can also chop off any ends if they look dirty or not fresh. 

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How to wash greens; such as watercress, lettuce, parsley, spinach, broccoli, dill and coriander....

First it is recommended to chop the roots off with a knife and separate the leaves from each other, then remove the outer leaver and damaged leaves. The leaves are then soaked in cold water with a little vinegar and left until it releases the dirt. Drain the water and soak them again in new water, repeating a couple of times until they're completely clean. After completely draining them from the water, dry them with a clean towel before using them or putting them in the fridge.

To keep the green leaves fresh for as long as possible, store them in the fridge after wrapping them in a clean cotton towel or kitchen tissue.

How to wash fruits

To clean fruits with big pits or stones and thick skin, like oranges, apples, pomegranates, melons, tangerines, etc...the best way is to rub them well under fresh water for a few minutes with a soft brush, then dry them with a towel and keep them in the fridge.

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As for the small and delicate fruits like, grapes, strawberries, berries...it is recommended to soak them in a mixture of cold water, baking soda and vinegar to get rid of the bacteria and dirt that usually accumulates inside. Stir and move around the fruit with your hands, from time to time, as this will help dirt come out. Next, rinse with cold water and dry it with a clean towel immediately, then keep in the fridge.

Main Image Credits: Jessie May