Saturday, March 18, 2017

Something Berry Important

First things first, my apologies for the pun and for the month without blog posts, but in my defense, I have a lame sense of humor and three weeks of midterms.

Today I'm going to address a topic that no one wants to read about because no one wants to do it: the importance of washing fruits and vegetables. Trust me, it wasn't my idea. You can blame Doctor G for this one, who suggested the topic over a text message and was answered by this adorable beagle puppy I met at the mall.

When I called her later she asked if I saw the blog topic and I asked if she saw the beagle and she said write the blog and I said buy the puppy and you can probably guess who won that one.

I told her it would be hypocritical of me to write about the importance of washing fruit when I am always so reluctant to do it but she said maybe I'd learn something and besides I just bought a bunch of blackberries at Harris Teeter because they were only 99 cents so here we go.

 I'm actually eating the blackberries right now unwashed to see if after my research I feel like washing the other ones. I'm thinking I probably will.

The two biggest reasons to wash your fruit are, it turns out, to prevent ingestion of residual pesticides and to prevent the spread of food-borne illness, specifically Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli.

 A LiveStrong article warns that fruits and vegetables "can become contaminated in their various production phases before arriving at your local grocery store. From preparation to storage time, there are opportunities for contaminants, especially bacteria, to live on them." 

The FDA recommends that you "wash all produce thoroughly under running water before preparing and/or eating, including produce grown at home or bought from a grocery store or farmers’ market. Washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent, or commercial produce wash is not recommended." 

That's right -- not only do you have to wash produce you get from grocery stores or farmer's markets, you need to wash your own produce. I, too, am surprised and appalled, but Modern Farmer says that "unless you’re confident in your soil quality and you’re using drinking water to irrigate your garden, it’s still a good idea to wash before you eat." Ugh.

But, considering the risks, the 6 seconds it takes to thoroughly rinse fruits and veggies seem like they might be a worthy use of my time. 

And so, my hypothesis was correct. I will be washing the next container of blackberries.

(A peek inside my fridge at school. Enjoy).