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How to Clean Fruits and Veggies

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No one likes grit in their salad – not to mention bacteria and bugs – so be sure to give your produce a good scrub.

When the weather's warm, markets and kitchens across the country abound with greens, fresh fruit and other natural delights. But on the surface of most produce lurk dirt, bacteria and even tiny little bugs that hitch a ride from the garden to your kitchen.

Luckily, getting rid of grime and pests isn't hard and, in fact, takes little more than running water, a bit of vinegar and a scrub brush.
How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables

Hard-Surface Fruits & Veggies

For fruits and veggies with hard surfaces (like apples, pears, cucumbers and carrots), rinse thoroughly under cool water, followed by a light scrub with a natural bristle brush and a final rinse to remove most surface ickiness.

Also, a solution of one part distilled vinegar and three parts water is more effective than packaged produce washes at removing bacteria.

Soft or Textured Produce

Produce with a soft or textured surface – everything from berries to greens to cauliflower – can be soaked in either plain water or the vinegar solution (above), then rinsed well to wash away any remaining grit.

Peeled Produce

If you plan on peeling your cucumbers or carrots, be sure to wash them before removing the skins, as this will prevent any transfer of bacteria or dirt from your knife. It's also a good idea to cut off the stem and blossom ends of veggies, as well as bruised areas, because these can harbor pathogens.

So what to do with all that clean produce you've got? The possibilities are limitless, but a few tasty suggestions include this Citrus Berry Quinoa Salad and Layered Summer Pasta Salad.

It's summer! Enjoy the freshness!

What summer produce do you like best? Tell us below!

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