Whenever we consume fruits and vegetables, it is essential to wash and disinfect them properly, since there are pathogens and chemical elements that could contaminate these foods. However, with the current situation of a coronavirus pandemic, such measures should be even more extreme. Neglecting the hygiene of the vegetables that you consume can cause us different illnesses, some very annoying and others extremely dangerous. Washing vegetables only with water does not guarantee their disinfection, exposing us to all kinds of microbes, such as viruses and bacteria. For all this, at RecetaGratis we share all the details of how to disinfect vegetables at home.
How to wash vegetables
Although there are clear differences between vegetables, given the characteristics of each type of vegetable, if it is to sanitize, there are certain basic rules that serve all of them equally and that you should always follow:
- Wash your hands very well. Clean them with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Thoroughly clean the work surface and utensils you will use. For example, the table, knife, board, strainer, etc.
- Get a special brush for each type of vegetable. For vegetables with hard shells, like pumpkin, use a large, strong bristled one. For more delicate-skinned vegetables, such as cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, etc., use a medium soft-bristled brush. Finally, there are the tubers, to these assigns a medium brush with intermediate bristles.
- Have an exclusive table for vegetables. If you use the same table for all foods, you risk cross contamination. Designate a table for each thing: one for vegetables, one for bread and pastries, one for meat and one for fish. Avoid boards with a very porous texture.
- Use an antiseptic to disinfect the tables. In these times of pandemic, the most recommended is bleach for food use, although there are many others that you can prepare at home. To use it, pour a solution of 1 liter of water per 1 tsp of food bleach into a large bowl. Remember that the label must indicate that chlorine is used to purify water and sanitize food, if you use common chlorine it will not work, because it is toxic.
Some special measures during the pandemic
Although Covid-19 is not spread through food, some precautions never hurt. So when you get shopping, disinfects packages of the vegetables with a vaporizer containing an alcohol and water solution and leave it to act for a few minutes (5 minutes). Then, using kitchen paper, dry them to finish cleaning them (for each package use a new towel and discard it when finished). Eliminate unnecessary packaging (if the fruit can be well preserved without them, throw them away) and leave only the essential ones.
Once the previous part is finished, wash all the vegetables under the tap water and prepare the chlorine and water solution. Dip the vegetables in the water and let them rest for 3-5 minutes. After this time, drain and dry the vegetables very well to store them (make sure they are very dry or they can be damaged). Wear gloves, cover your mouth and wash your hands constantly every time you finish cleaning a food.
Disinfectants for washing vegetables
After reviewing the basic rules for washing vegetables correctly, we will see which are the best disinfectants to eliminate any microorganism from this food. They are all good for all types of vegetables, so you can choose one or the other depending on your preferences or the ones you have at home at the time.
How to disinfect vegetables with bleach or bleach
Chlorine or food bleach is an excellent disinfectant for its incredible effectiveness. Remember that you should make sure to use the food option and not the domestic one. The ratio is this:
- 1 liter of water for 1 teaspoon of chlorine or food bleach
How to disinfect vegetables with vinegar
One of the best natural disinfectants for washing vegetables and fruits is vinegar, both white and apple. You just mix water and vinegar in equal parts and immerse the food in the solution. The amount will depend on the total of vegetables that you must disinfect.
How to disinfect vegetables with lemon
Lemon is another perfect product to disinfect vegetables naturally due to its antimicrobial properties. The recommended ratio is:
- 1 liter of water for half a liter of lemon juice maximum, ideally 1/4.
How to disinfect vegetables with baking soda
We finish the list of the best disinfectants for washing vegetables with baking soda, another powerful antiseptic. Follow this this ratio:
- 1 liter of hot water for 2 teaspoons of baking soda.
Next, we explain the times and other recommendations depending on the type of vegetable.
How to wash green leafy vegetables
Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard and many others need special treatment when washing them so as not to wilt them and leave them well sanitized. The steps are not complicated and we explain how to wash green leafy vegetables below:
- Leaves the vegetable. Remove the leaves very carefully to avoid breaking or mistreating them.
- Soak them in water with some antiseptic. Put them in a large and deep bowl, add the natural disinfectant of your choice.
- The soaking time should not exceed 15-20 minutes. After that time, rub the leaves with your hands, one by one, very gently so as not to mistreat them. Do this until you feel no traces of dirt or any dirt.
- Rinse them well with plenty of water.
- Eliminate dark or wilted leaves.
- Drain the leaves and dry them very well. Pass them through the strainer and dry them with kitchen paper (preferably absorbent), ready to be seasoned!
For more information on the specific case of lettuce, see this other article on How to disinfect lettuce.
How to disinfect tubers and roots
Although this type of vegetable (potatoes, carrots, radishes, ginger, etc.) is used to cut before washing and then clean it peeled (directly under tap water), this procedure is incorrect and not very healthy. Why? Because these foods usually bring with them remnants of soil and compost, which contain microorganisms that can make us sick. Perhaps many times we do it this way and nothing happens, but we run a significant risk unnecessarily. In addition, properly sanitizing the tubers is not a big deal and you can check it out below:
- Never peel vegetables before washing. If you cut the vegetables directly, without cleaning them first, you transport the microorganisms that are on the outside to the knife and from there it goes into the food and contaminates it.
- Dip the tubers in a bowl with some disinfectant and water. Although some people think that brushing and washing tubers is enough, it is always better to disinfect them too, especially in these times. Leave them there for 15-20 minutes.
- Clean these vegetables thoroughly with a brush. Use the most suitable brush for them, remove all the dirt or dust and rinse them with plenty of water.
- Rinse them very well under the tap water.
- Drain and dry with paper. After drying, you can now cut or save them.
If potatoes are the type of vegetable you are going to disinfect, don't forget to check our recipes with this ingredient:
- Potato straws
- Potato parmentier
- Garlic Potatoes
How to disinfect cruciferous vegetables
The family of vegetables called cruciferous (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnip, turnip, radish, mustard greens, kale, etc.) is represented by vegetables with a fragile structure, which house many spaces where you can hide bugs. Generally, many of these vegetables look like a miniature forest, full of small saplings, and others resemble a cocoon or onion, since they have many layers. For this reason, we commonly think that they are very difficult to wash. However, it is not so complicated and everything is summarized in the following simple steps:
- Wash cruciferous vegetables according to their characteristics. Those with leaves you can disinfect them just as you do with green leafy vegetables. Those that are made up of corsages will need to be washed using the next step.
- Separate into corsages. If the vegetable is small, separate the sprigs and if they are still very large, cut them. In the case of large crucifers, cut them in half and then separate them into small saplings, just the size you want to eat.
- Remove the heart or cut it. Remove the center or trunk or cut it into small pieces to disinfect them like the rest of the vegetable.
- Dip the corsages inside a bowl with water and the chosen disinfectant. Stir them in the water and leave them there for 15-20 minutes. Don't let them float. To prevent this from happening, place a flat plate on top, a little smaller than the bowl, and put something heavy on it.
- Remove the water and rinse the pieces very well under a stream of cold water. After the stipulated time passes, you will see how the remains of dirt come out.
- Drain and dry. Pass the pieces through a strainer and dry them with kitchen paper, they are ready to be included in any recipe! One of the best ways to eat this type of vegetable is by cooking it in the oven, and for this we recommend consulting the Cauliflower Recipe baked with cheese.
How to wash vegetables with skin
In the case of vegetables with a softer skin and that are usually eaten, such as zucchini, eggplant or cucumber, the disinfection technique is the same as that used with tubers and roots. However, when rubbing these soft-skinned vegetables, you should use a softer bristle brush and treat them with more care.
How to disinfect mushrooms
Washing mushrooms is very simple but somewhat tedious. To clean this type of vegetables you must also apply the same procedure that you use with the tubers, although with more meticulousness. It is important that you clean this vegetable in detail, since it has a structure with many holes that can choose from small microorganisms, earth remains, etc.
If you liked the article How to disinfect vegetables, we suggest you enter our Cheats and techniques category.