by Margaret Keefe
Food safety is one of the top concerns of parents in Shanghai. What we feed our families is essential to children’s growth and development, but when faced with frequent food safety scandals in China, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed.
One way to take control of food safety is learning how to properly wash your fruits and vegetables. Try using these washing methods for all your produce - whether it’s local, organic or imported - to help reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides and bacteria found on food.
1. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before you do anything with food. Right there you have eliminated a whole bunch of germs before you have even started.
2. Divide your produce in to peeled and ready to eat.
For peeled produce
Rinse the outside with filtered water and remove the peel, while taking care to keep cleaning your knife. Bacteria and pesticide residue on the outside of an item can make its way inside on your knife. When you are done peeling give the produce another rinse with the filtered water.
Remove the outer leaves (ie. lettuce) and follow the next steps.
3. Fill a large pot with filtered water and add a few drops of produce cleanser. What is produce cleanser? A cleanser usually has something in it, such as an acid or essential oil like orange, that will remove any coating, particularly wax, which often traps pesticides and germs. Here are a few suggestions for cleansers:
• Create your own by mixing a half a cup of vinegar with 4 tablespoons of salt and 2 cups of water.
• Buy a natural anti-bacterial produce cleanser. There is a variety available at grocers around town.
• Bring an organic produce cleanser from your home country.
4. Rinse all your produce under running water for 30 seconds. This will remove a lot of the residues and dirt from produce.
5. Soak in the filtered water/cleanser mix for no more than 5 minutes.
6. Drain and rinse under filtered water.