Have you noticed how the flu, formerly know as “swine” is affecting you? I was in the produce section at the supermarket the other day, when I noticed two women tossing around the green beans like they were tossing a salad! Okay, they were looking for nice firm green beans, but honestly, did they have to touch each and every bean, without the protection of gloves?
It got me to thinking about the food in the produce section. How many people have touched, smelled, breathed on or licked the apple you are taking home with you?
No, really. I was getting steamed at these “touchy feely” ladies, when I realized - wait a minute, I do the same thing! I also touch, squeeze, pinch and hold the veggies and fruit up to my nose to decide on the ripeness.
Which got me to thinking. How important is it to wash your produce when you get it home? Way! I remember working with David Tanis, the chef at Chez Panisse restaurant, last summer and asking him if he “only” bought organic food. Know what he said? “Yes!, I don’t like to eat pesticides!” There’s another reason to wash your produce before you eat it!
But does buying organic produce protect you from other contaminates like germs from people handling the produce? No!
Luckily we cook a lot of things, like potatoes, green beans and carrots before we eat them, but most fruits are eaten raw.
So what shall we do! Wash your produce, there are all kinds of products out there that are made to use on produce, however, I haven’t found any studies that show that any of those products is any better then just rinsing with warm water or an occasional soapy wash.
I have to say I do use soap on some produce, like apples and oranges. Yes, oranges too; just because you don’t eat the skin doesn’t mean someone else’s germs aren’t lurking on it, ready to contaminate your hands and then leap on the fruit inside.
So, dear friends, the health message from “Healthy and Simple” today is, wash your fruits and veggies, organic or not. Oh, and cover your mouth when you cough!