Strawberries are so yummy and look so unique. It’s almost impossible not to bite into one the moment you spot one. This is true for everyone, and we have all been there and hogged on a couple of them straight off the farm or from the grocery store after maybe just washing it a bit underwater. While this habit is not safe, understanding why it is not so will help us prevent any such behavior in the future and also help us be more careful when it comes to food hygiene. That’s the fundamental reason behind this article on how to wash strawberries.
Knowing Your Strawberries
You have to understand that strawberries as fruit have universal appeal, and almost 90% of people consume them in one form or another. A large chunk of them has them as fresh as well. Fresh strawberries are the easiest to come by and also consume. Traditionally, it does not take a lot to clean them and we are all used to just holding them under running water before swallowing them.
- Unlike traditional fruits and vegetables, strawberries are the ones that grow on or in very close contact with ground soil. In today’s farming culture, we all know the earth has a lot of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Therefore, anything in close contact with the soil needs to be consumed carefully.
- While they may not affect many strawberries, it’s valid enough to be careful. Also soil naturally has various insects and germs living on it, which is an additional cause of concern. Finally, close contact with the ground ensures close contact of the fruit with farm animals, stray animals, and birds roaming the fields. While their droppings may contaminate the fruit, strawberries are also their favorite fruit for picking.
- Even when considering the fruit, other fruits like watermelon, pineapple, bananas, mangoes, etc., have a firm outer layer or skin that acts as the protective layer. Strawberries and other berries have little to none.
A Complete Process to Safely Wash Strawberries
All the reasons above necessitate a thorough cleaning process to ensure none of the impurities or contamination enters your body. I think we have enough justification for why to clean strawberries. We have listed the steps listed by none other than FDA to ensure you are doing it right. Now, let’s focus on how to wash strawberries.
- Cleaning hands first: Before cleaning the fruit, always ensure that you start with clean hands and devices. Wash your hands thoroughly and all the kitchen equipment you will be using to clean them. It may seem a simple step, but if you reflect, you will understand how often you would have overlooked this simple step in the first place. Ensure you clean your hands for at least 20 seconds with a good soap.
- Sorting them out: Sort the strawberries. Separate the unclean, damaged ones from the good ones. Sorting should not take more time, but you will know for sure which ones are rotten or spoiled and should not be mixed with the good ones. Depending on the condition of the damaged or spoiled ones, take a call to either dispose of them or clean them separately. If the fruit appears moldy or mushy, discard it immediately as it’s wholly spoiled and therefore unfit for human consumption. Do not attempt to wash away the damage as you might spoil the fruit inside. Please don’t risk it.
- Cutaway the damaged parts: Then inspect each one closely and remove all the bruised and damaged parts of your strawberries. You can use a paring knife to do this. Slice away the unwanted parts. Along with this, remove the green leafy part of the fruit and the underlying white stem. Both of them are tasteless and will spoil the taste of any recipe. So they are best discarded.
- Rinse in the sink: First, collect the rest of the strawberries in a large enough bowl and place them under cold running water. Scrub them gently with your hands, trying to loosen any dust and dirt. Ensure you try to rub each berry individually this way as far as possible. Clean the fruit, the stem, the green leafy part, and the area underneath where dust and dirt tend to stick. Empty the water before repeating the process. Dust and dirt are unhealthy, and also, you do not want to taste small mud particles in your mouth as it is off-putting. Repeat this washing process 5 – 6 times because strawberries can accumulate dirt which can be challenging to come off. Once this is done, drain all the water and pat them dry with paper or cloth towels to further clean off any bacteria or foreign particles on the surface.
- Baking soda/ Vinegar wash: The strawberries have likely been sprayed with pesticides. Vinegar wash is the best way to get rid of any pesticide residue. Mix four parts of water with one part white vinegar, and have the berries soak for 15 – 20 minutes. In a large bowl, collect one teaspoon of baking soda and add four cups of water. Soak strawberries for 5 -7 minutes and rinse them clean. Rinse well after the process.
- Saltwater: Add one teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water. Soak your strawberries for 5 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
Check out some strawberry recipes:
I think we have explained enough about the process of how to clean strawberries. Though it may seem a lot, do remember that prevention is always better than cure. With the kind of chemical contamination we face every day, every step of cleaning is crucial. It would help thoroughly clean all the fruits and vegetables before consuming or even cooking. To ensure additional safety, only buy organic foods as these have been certified by the USDA to be safe from prohibited substances like synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
I hope this article serves as a guideline for how to clean strawberries and how to clean other fruits. I hope the information in the report has been helpful. Cheers, and I wish you good health.