Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Washing Fruit and Vegetables

There is a Chinese expression along the lines of "you never know how many hands have touched your food".

For this very reason I am a little obsessive about washing our fruit and vegetables.

Soursops and fujis (or possibly fejoas drying - neither of us could work out what the vendor was saying)
Certainly, we shop at the markets where most sellers are the growers, and sell only a handful of items.  But, even there you never know what growing or hygiene practices your produce has met with along the way.

So, I wash everything when I get it home from the markets.

Kang-kong, local mandarins and papaya.
Generally, I use a single sink of water for two washes.  The first wash will be for a food you eat whole.  The second for something, say like Papaya, where you will cut the skin off before eating but I don't want contamination from the outside getting on inside when I cut and peel it.

Longons, bok-choy and custard apples.

Then I set it all out on clean tea-towels on the benches to get thoroughly dry before it goes into bowls and the crisper in the fridge.  Ensuring your produce is fully dry is essential if you want it to last through the week.
White mangosteens and dragon fruits.
I can then breath easy knowing that when anyone grabs a piece of fruit out of the fridge it has been washed!


  1. What a beautiful selection of fruit and vegetables you've bought from the markets this week. Lots delicious things to eat in your home. xx

  2. Yum, what gorgeous fruit and vegies you've got your hands on. I'm a bit pedantic about washing fruit and vegetables too. I'm not as organised as you are though, I tend to just wash them as needed. You never know who or what has come in to contact with them.

  3. What a good idea to wash everything in advance instead of as you go - very efficient. Even more interesting to me is that I've never even heard of half the produce you've listed above, let alone tasted it. Are these foods that are locally grown in your tropical area?

    1. Sarah - yes, in short these are all asian or tropical fruits. You can really only get tropical fruits at the market because that is what grows well here. During the wet season (the present season) you are talking over 100mm of rain a day - so plants have to be able to survive a serious wetting. Besides, NT is very multicultural (sometimes called the gateway to Asia or the north) and there are many ethnically asian groups - so obviously they grow what they are used to. And, they account for most of the market growers. Your other option is to shop at the supermarkets with the more traditional produce imported from interstate - we do that too so are still having plums, nectarines etc. We have enjoyed tasting the new to us fruit - this week we bought Malaysian gooseberries. They are still sitting in the fridge because we haven't worked out how to eat them yet:)

  4. Your fruit bowl looks much more exciting than mine! We live round the corner from a Chinese supermarket so each time I see a new fruit or veg there, I buy one (get instructions from the shop owner on what to do with it) & we then give it a go...

  5. I always mean to do mine all at once when they come home, its a bit annoying washing each thing one at a time before use!