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In The Kitchen

The Safest Way to Wash Produce

Young boy helping his father wash carrots under running water in kitchen sink Play Video

It’s always important to make sure you’re buying quality produce, but food safety doesn’t end at the store. Once you’re home, you want to make sure to get rid of as much bacteria as possible so you and your family can enjoy a safe meal or sweet treat.

That’s where washing your fruits and vegetables comes into play, but this isn’t your standard scrub-a-dub-dub in a tub. Because of the texture of certain fruits and vegetables, you’ll need to approach cleaning them in different ways.

You might be tempted to skip washing fruits like cantaloupe because you don’t consume the rind, but there’s a chance of transferring bacteria from the outside when you cut into the fruit. Better safe than sorry wins the day, so you should still rinse and clean thoroughly using brushes or similar tools.

And don’t cut corners when it comes to cleaning produce. Even a tomato has tiny, almost microscopic pores where bacteria can hide. Fruits and vegetables with smooth exteriors are easily rinsed with running water and a bit of friction.

With all of that in mind, what’s the best way to wash produce? Ben Chapman, food safety specialist with NC State Extension, shares tips for cleaning produce while debunking some food safety myths in our latest video—give it a click (but wash your hands first)!

Special Thanks

Homegrown in the Kitchen was filmed in the Dinah E. Gore Teaching and Research Kitchens at NC State University. This innovative, state-of-the-art kitchen complex was designed to enhance and extend our work in teaching, research and Extension.

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