Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
Have you noticed how dirty fresh fruits and veggies are lately? What I mean is dirtier than usual. Even the so called “washed and prepared” produce has had a major recall from contamination. A fresh veggie or fruit may appear clean but its probably not? Do you ever wonder what night critters may have walked or crawled over the produce during the night at the packing house or in the grocery when closed? What chemicals may have been sprayed on fresh fruits to keep them like they were just picked three weeks or a month later? The industrialization and distribution of food world wide has introduced many new opportunities for food to be contaminated with chemicals, bacteria, viruses, feces, and parasites. Such a scary thought.
Have you ever eaten french fries or potato wedges that taste strange, like grit or dirt? You were probably right. Food producers are concerned with only one thing. Their bottom line. Not our health. They play a gambling roulette with our lives. Most of them would rather suffer a recall than take away from profits for extra precautions. They use the philosophy of “its easier to be forgiven than to get permission” for their own greed. Its up to us to clean the dirt from our produce and I always do. I wash my fresh fruit and veggies with dish soap and rinse with vinegar. These are the potatoes I got last week from the mobile food bank.
I watched a couple of youtube videos about how produce is mechanically harvested and washed because I was curious. As far as I could tell the water to wash them is recycled and dirty. Produce is only cleaned enough to make it look pleasing inside a bag. Not for actual cleanliness. This is the water after I washed my potatoes. As you can see they had a lot of dirt on them.
Here are bell peppers being washed before I prepare them for the freezer. A few days ago I washed some grapes and found little spiders on them. Yuck!
I wash all produce before I process it. Grapes, apples, oranges, watermelon, tomatoes, zucchini, collard greens, and so forth all get washed. Even onions, rice, and beans get washed. I may still get sick from eating but it won’t be from being too cautious about my food.
I read something very strange in a forum comment someplace on the web. I can’t remember exactly where I read it but it’s been stuck in my mind. I’m going to tell it here so I can get it out of my head. The conversation was about whether or not it was a good thing to save and use the water from canned vegetables as sort of a veggie stock so you don’t waste the nutrients. Someone had posted a comment that no one should save and use the vegetable water from cans of vegetables that are packed in China because China uses contaminated water. The person who wrote the comment said eating the vegetables was ok so long as you drained off the contaminated water. Awww….. geeze, what were they thinking? What happened to their common sense? They must have lost it someplace. I prefer to think the commenter may have been a child or a young adult who hadn’t grown their knowledge and common sense yet. Contaminated water used in the canning process would also contaminate the vegetable cooked in it. Also, the high pressure of canning vegetables kills any contaminants. Like botulinum. Any germs that live through high pressure canning is going to be some kind of super bug that we don’t want to mess with. Ok, now that I’ve got that out of my mind I’m headed to the kitchen to fix dinner.
How about you, do you wash your produce? What’s your favorite way?