Juicing is one of the most popular ways to get your daily fix of those much-needed vitamins and nutrients, especially if you’re not a fan of eating fruits or vegetables. However, it is not without its own inherent dangers. Fruits and veggies are usually juiced raw you may have to keep a sharp eye out for any tummy troubles that you may encounter especially if you do not wash your ingredients properly.
Being vigilant is essential when it comes to juicing – you may be ingesting your vitamins and nutrients, but if you don’t wash your veggies and fruits properly, you may also be ingesting bacteria and other microorganisms that may cause salmonella and e.coli. Of course, that also includes ingesting all those nasty chemicals and pesticides sprayed the plant and fruits.
Thus, the key to juicing the healthy way is to always prepare your ingredients properly. Here’s a rundown on what to keep in mind when you’re cleaning the produce.
Why should you clean the fruits and vegetables?
There is always an inherent risk that the produce you have just bought has loads of bad stuff in and on it, even if you are sure that it’s fresh and organic. Vegetables that are grown in the ground such as carrots have a higher risk of coming into contact with bacteria that naturally live in the soil.
The delivery of the products leaves many things to question, as you have no idea what the produce came into contact with. They may be stored in dirty baskets or came in contact with other produce that are close to spoiling. You may also pick up those that are not organic, which might lead to you ingesting pesticide.
There’s also no control over microorganisms that just love to be with your produce. Salmonella and E. coli thrive in certain vegetables, and in order to get rid of these, you really have to thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables in the proper way. Stomach bugs or food poisoning is no joke – especially if you’re the one experiencing it.
How to Clean Your Produce Well
Running water down from the tap onto your produce isn’t enough. You need to clean them properly, as in scrub every nook and cranny that you find in the vegetables. Here are some tips on how to clean your produce properly:
- Wash your vegetables before you cut them, so if the bacteria is present on the skin, it won’t spread to the fleshy inner part of your vegetable or fruit.
- Vegetables which have tougher skins, such as bell peppers, may need a little scrubbing to ensure that they’re truly cleaned. Grab a scrub brush and hold the fruit or vegetable under running water while you scrub it to make sure the contaminants are washed off. For those who have softer skins such as tomatoes, you won’t need a scrub brush – you just need to lightly rub the skin under running water to get rid of the bad stuff. Check out leaves and stalks, since dirt may hide there. This is especially true for celery stalks.
- Sometimes, just water isn’t enough – liquids that naturally contain acid, such as vinegar and lemon, can be the key to cleaning your produce sufficiently. You can create a homemade solution by combining equal parts of water, vinegar and lemon juice to use to clean your vegetables. This is a better alternative than artificial and commercially vegetable washes. Place the mixture in a bowl or large container, and dip your pre-washed vegetables in them for a minute or less. Rinse the produce with water, and now they’re ready to be juiced.
- While spraying and rinsing may get off most of the bacteria and pesticide, there are some hardheaded members that are sure to linger. Drying is an essential phase in which you can remove those that are left behind. Lay out some paper towels and spread out the wet vegetables on them. Pat the vegetables gently in order to remove the extra water.
- Make sure that the vegetables that you’re about to juice are near perfect. Grab a knife and remove some of those spots which have already bruised or have spots on them.
- Of course, you have to make sure that the board and knife that you’re using is clean as well, otherwise all the rinsing and washing and drying are useless because your vegetables will get contaminated.
Some Extra Tips To Remember
In order to get the most out of your juicing experience, here are some tips that you may want to follow:
- Buy organic. Organic fruits and vegetables may have higher price tags or be more difficult to find especially when the produce that you’re looking for is not in season. However, you can be sure that you’re consuming something that’s fresh and pesticide-free.
- Don’t make juice ahead of time. Sure, it’s going to be convenient and you can always pop it in the fridge, but you lose out of the essential nutrients that may disappear after it comes in contact with the air. There is also a higher risk for it to become contaminated or turn into a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s recommended that you drink fresh juice and finish it immediately in order to reduce the risk of any food-related diseases. A little work every now and then beats risking contamination.
- In cleaning your produce, do not use soap or utensil detergents on them! Instead of catching illnesses from bacteria or such, you’re going to end up being sick from ingesting soap.
- Make sure that the utensils that you’re using – knives, juicer and cutting board – are be extra clean as well. It’s not very useful if you try your best to clean the fruits and vegetables but forget about your apparatus. If you have just cleaned a fruit or a vegetable, rinse the cutting board and the knife before cutting the other one to reduce the risk of bacteria transferring from one produce to another. Take your juicer apart and make sure that you wash the blades and strainer and dry them well.
Indeed, juicing is a good supplement to the well-balanced meal that you are eating, but if it’s not done right, it may also be detrimental to your health. Be sure that you’re preparing your drink the right way to avoid any problems that might instead undermine its effects and benefits.