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Do You Really Need To Wash Vegetables?

First Posted: 03/13/2012 2:41 pm Updated: 08/31/2012 10:48 am

We all have our own little kitchen secrets, whether it's a special ingredient in a famous recipe, a handful of chocolate chips in our morning oatmeal or how flexible we are with the five-second rule. Some of us (or maybe just Adrienne Maloof from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) clean our chickens with dish soap (though her secret is not so secret anymore).

We home cooks have our own way of doing things, and sometimes we just don't want to share them. There's one kitchen task in particular that varies from cook to cook, and we're asking you to spill the beans with us.

So here it is: fruits and vegetables -- do you wash them or not? It may seem like a silly question. Most of us know that we're supposed to wash our produce, but that rule just isn't completely black and white.

Some of us grew up in households with parents who just didn't rinse their produce (and so washing veggies wasn't an automatic reaction). Others wash their veggies only when visibly dirty, even though we all know that pesticides aren't visible to the naked eye. Some wash their produce only when they remember; and others only if they aren't going to remove the peel.

Then there are those who always, always wash their produce -- sometimes more than once, and sometimes with fancy gadgets, too. There are specialized wash cloths and brushes to make sure that you get your produce really clean. And there's even veggie wash for those who feel like plain ol' water won't do the trick. As we can see, there's a full spectrum of vegetable cleanliness; we want to know, where do you fall on that scale?

According to the FDA, you should wash all produce under running water before you cut, cook or eat it -- regardless of if you buy it at the supermarket, farmers market or grow it in your own backyard. The FDA doesn't recommend using vegetable wash, and suggests that you always wash your produce before cooking or eating, regardless if you plan to peel it or not. Unwashed produce can be contaminated with bacteria, that when consumed can lead to food-borne illness.

So tell us, do you always wash your produce? Answer the poll and elaborate in the comments below!

Quick Poll

Do you always wash your produce before using?

VOTE




And since you have produce on the mind, click through the slideshow for ideas on how to use your veggies -- whether you wash them or not.

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower With Pine Nuts And Raisins
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Roasted cauliflower florets are mixed with rich pine nuts and naturally-sweet raisins to complete this warm-winter side dish. A trick to maximizing the flavors of the cauliflower is to caramelize it in Mediterranean seasonings before baking.

Get the Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Raisins recipe

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Filed by Julie R. Thomson  |