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How to Clean Produce with Baking Soda

Today I am sharing How to Clean Produce with Baking Soda by making a rinse to soak them in. This solution can effectively clean your fruits and veggies from dirt or chemical residues by breaking them down.

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Cleaning your produce from the store or farmers’ market to remove harmful chemicals is an often overlooked step in maintaining a healthy kitchen. I am not one to completely trust those organic labels. Not to in any way sound like an alarmist, but there have been some studies to suggest reasons we shouldn’t.

Thankfully, there are steps we can take to help clean off the residue that may be present in our food. Though baking soda is not a disinfectant of any sort. Studies have found that when soaked in baking soda, the particles from some common pesticides begin to break down and release from the produce. You can read more on this here.

In this blog post, I will explain how to make this simple produce rinse and how I use it to help clean off our produce. It is not a guarantee that all pesticides present will be gone after soaking in the baking soda solution. Rather it is still important to buy the best quality foods we can afford when purchasing them. However, whether you buy organic or non-organic produce; I think everyone can agree, that it is still a good idea to clean it properly or as best we can.

I hope you find this rinse helpful in your home.

Why I Love This Rinse

This is a cost-effective way to clean our produce. I love the fact that I can take my large mixing bowl or use the sink (when cleaned). Fill with water and a dash of baking soda. Then allow the produce to soak while I put away my other groceries. It is a simple solution quite literally. One that when done, makes cooking easier since my produce is washed and ready to use.

Baking Soda Rinse Is…

  • The best way to naturally clean fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Helps remove pesticide residues from fresh produce.
  • A cost-effective solution to wash produce.
  • A safe veggie wash that can help reduce harmful germs.
  • As simple as filling a bowl of cool water with baking soda, soaking, and drying with a clean towel.

What You Will Need To Make It

6 cups of cold water

1 tbsp. of baking soda

You can follow this simple ratio to make your baking soda solution. So in other words, if you are using a 12-cup bowl, add at least 2 tbsp. of baking soda to that bowl. It is not an exact recipe but you will want to do at least 1 tbsp. for every 6 cups of cold water.

baking soda for rinsing produce

Directions for How to Clean Your Produce

Take a large bowl (or you can use a clean sink) and add as many cups of cold water as needed to fill the bowl. Sprinkle in the above ratio of baking soda to water. Stir it well. The solution will be slightly cloudy. This is how you want it to look. Toss in whatever fruits or veggies need cleaning.

Allow the product to sit in the solution for 15 minutes. When ready, rinse the product off with cold water, then either pat dry or allow them to air dry before putting it away. It is that simple.

baking soda

Tips on Cleaning Your Produce

If cleaning lettuce or cabbages heads. You should cut the head in half to allow the solution to penetrate all the layers of the leaves. Rinse all the crevices when done. If cleaning a more hard surface like a melon or potato, it is a good idea to scrub the outside with the solution to help work up any particles that are stuck on the surface.

Produce it Works Best For

  • Hand Fruits– apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines
  • Citrus– oranges, lemons, limes
  • Melons– all types
  • Tomatoes– cherry, and large varieties
  • Cucurbits– cucumbers, zucchini, squash
  • Root Vegetables– white and sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes
  • Cabbages– all types
  • Peppers- all types
  • Leafy Greens– all types
  • Brassicaceae – broccoli, and cauliflower

Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15

Studies have found that some produce items on grocery store shelves are more prone to having pesticides than others. This is known as the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. This term was brought to my attention when researching organic foods. I wanted to understand the reasons for purchasing them over the regularly marked produce available.

This list is updated each year by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) which gets its information from the United States Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program. This is a list I keep saved on my phone for shopping days. However at this point I have most of them memorized these days.

It is a relevant list to refer to when deciding whether you should opt for the organic option. It is no secret that not everyone can buy all organic produce. The cost can be considerably higher than that of a regularly priced produce item. In some areas, organic produce might also not be as available as standard fruits and vegetables.

It is also important to understand that although that sticker might indicate an organic label. There have been studies done showing even organic foods have traces of pesticides on them. That is where ensuring we wash our fruits and veggies properly each time they are purchased becomes necessary. If interested you can either print or save a copy of this list in your phone notes for the next time you are in the supermarket.

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Yield: 6 cups

Baking Soda Produce Rinse

produce with veggies around baking soda for rinsing

a simple baking soda solution for cleaning your produce

Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Difficulty easy

Materials

  • 1 large bowl or a sink
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 6 cups of cold water

Tools

  • strainer
  • large bowl

Instructions

    Taking a large bowl, add as many cups of the cold water as needed to fill the bowl. Sprinkle in the above ratio for baking soda to water. Stir, the solution will be slightly cloudy. Toss in whatever fruits or veggies that need cleaning. Allow the produce to sit in the solution for 15 minutes. When ready, rinse the produce off with cold water, then either pat them dry or allow them to air dry before putting away.

Notes

*If cleaning lettuces or cabbages heads. You should cut the head in half to allow the solution to penetrate all the layers of the leaves. Rinse all the crevices when done. If cleaning a more hard surface like a melon or potato, it is a good idea to scrub the outside with the solution to help work up any particles that are stuck on the surface.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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2 Comments

  1. I’m wondering if it is ok to use this on multiple batches of different vegetables? ie soak apples, then use same water for peppers, etc.

    1. Hi Shela!

      Good question. I just soak things once in the solution then drain and make more, then add the new batch of produce. The nice thing is baking soda is pretty inexpensive and this way I am riding the produce of whatever is on the surface of that particular fruit or vegetable. Hope this helps and you find the solution a good method for you 🙂

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