The key factors in keeping fruit fresh longer are how you store and wash it. Learn how to make apple cider vinegar fruit wash for your produce and some other helpful tips!
When you eat a lot of real food, you buy a lot of produce. Making sure that produce lasts all week (or two) is a tricky matter! The key is all in how you store it and when you wash it. And you are washing all your produce, right?
We have the dirty dozen and clean fifteen list, but despite the organic label, produce still has some level of gunk coated on it. Organic farms will use allowed pesticides. But I’m also talking about plain ole dirt. In that dirt, we find bugs, parasites, bacteria, and other toxic residues.
Think about natural fertilizer options? Yes, there might be some not so lovely things on our produce. Not to mention the number of hands that have touched your food on its way to the market.
More reasons to grow a garden! But before you are completely grossed out at your strawberries, let’s learn how to clean, store them, and make apple cider vinegar fruit wash!
Cleaning The Produce
There are fruits and vegetables that need to be cleaned right before you eat them. If you clean them and store them, you may end up with mushy produce. Rule of thumb, if it has a soft outer layer, wash it before you eat them.
These fruits and veggies are best washed ahead of time and stored:
- Bell peppers
Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Wash
To save on money there are several options of making your own produce wash with ingredients you already have. One of my favorite methods using apple cider vinegar fruit wash.
Apple cider vinegar is one of those miracle ingredients. You can clean the counters, soak your grains, make salad dressing, detox your body, keep heartburn at bay, and even remove moles. Plus, you can make it yourself from apple scraps.
The steps to cleaning produce in apple cider vinegar fruit wash are very simple.
Step 1. Dilute 1 Tbsp ACV in 1 cup of water.
Step 2. Add fruit or veggies.
Step 3. Soak and stir for about 5 minutes.
Step 4. Rinse well and dry.
Tips for Washing Produce
- Agitation is key. Make a point to stir the produce a time or two while soaking.
- Obviously, you can’t scrub strawberries, but pick up a bristle brush like this one the next time you’re near a dollar store and use it exclusively on washing produce.
- Get all the nooks and crannies well; pesticides can hide there too!
- Just because you don’t eat the outside of cantaloupe and mangos, doesn’t mean you not should wash and scrub them too. Cross-contamination from the knife to the cutting board and into the flesh of the fruit is completely possible.
- Wash big batches directly in the sink. Fill up the sink with water, add a few big splashes of apple cider vinegar and soak away (don’t forget to stir!).
- Another method includes spraying the produce with the apple cider vinegar/water mixture and letting it sit for five minutes before rinsing. Leave a simple spray bottle like this one on your counter for a quick wash.
- Some produce can be hand dried, like apples and berries.
- Some produce is better air-dried like peaches and tomatoes.
- Make sure produce is completely dry before storing it in the fridge.
Using a vinegar fruit wash helps to break down bacteria, residue, and dirt!
You can soak your fruit in vinegar for 15 minutes. Make sure the produce is fully submerged.
The best kind is homemade like my vinegar fruit wash but if I am short on time, I buy this vegetable wash.
How to Keep Fruit Fresh Longer
Now that your fruits and veggies are clean. How long can you store them?
Produce with softer outer layers does better if washed right before eating. The day of is ok too.
Produce with thicker skin can be washed ahead of time and stored in the fridge. For optimal storage use the following guidelines for these common fruits and veggies:
Air-tight Container or Plastic Bag in the Fridge
- Bell peppers
Ventilated Container or Plastic Bag in the Fridge
- Snap peas
*Greens and lettuce can be washed ahead of time and stored in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. This will actually keep them fresh a little longer!
Ventilated on the Counter
If You Are Short On Time
One of the biggest struggles of a real food kitchen is the time it takes to clean, cut, and cook from scratch. One of my biggest tips to save time is to prep food ahead. This becomes a struggle with the fresh produce.
It would be nice to finish a big trip to Costco and take a half-hour and prep all the veggies for the week and not have to touch a knife again. But that doesn’t always keep your food fresh.
I’m not telling you not to prep, because that will save you a lot of time. But when you do prep, make sure your meal plan is set accordingly. If you prep strawberries and bell peppers, eat the strawberry vinaigrette salad you have planned that same day (or the next). The peppers will last a few days longer so the stir fry can come later.
The bottom line, however, is that fruits and veggies will only stay fresh for so long. Preserve by dehydrating, freezing, or canning. Then you have plenty of fruit in the off-season for granola bars, smoothies, or topping your toast! If you have never canned before and are intimidated by the process, follow this tutorial.
More DIY Natural Recipes
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5 Days to DIY Natural LivingBeing healthy isn’t just what goes IN your body, it’s what goes ON your body too. Download my free guide 5 Days to DIY Natural Living to learn how to save money while getting rid of harmful toxins throughout your home.
Such an informative post! I really like the part where you’ve suggested different storage methods for different types of fruits and veggies. Thanks for sharing!
Marcia Jean Schoppe
I have been reading through the post looking for information on dehydrating kiwi and if I need to wash them first. I was thinking some jars of dehydrated fruit would make great Christmas presents. I am really new to all of this but finding your web site to be the most informative one so far. Thank you
You’re very welcome Marcia! It’s always best to wash fruit before cutting, even if you don’t eat the peel, but washing the outside won’t make a difference on dehydrating. I think that would make a great gift!
Do we still need to wash bagged produce marked as “triple washed” and “ready to eat”?
It’s really up to you. I like to (and was told to do so by someone who worked at Dole). 🙂
Does any particular apple cider vinegar work best? Wondering what brand to go get?
Raw unfiltered is best for medicinal uses, but any variety will work for cleaning produce.
I have learned lot today about how to clean our vegetables and fruit before we put it in our bodies.
I’ve been looking for a natural produce wash that can really get pesticides off. This is something I’m going to try. Thanks!
I am such a novice at this since my family and I have recently become vegetarians with vegan ambitions, lol. Anyway, thank you so much for this insightful article and comments. I am grossed out about bugs on my fruit and veggies so I’ll have to get AVC asap! Thanks again. Cheers to healthy living.
Soaking berries and grapes in water with a touch of vinegar significantly extends their shelf life!
You need a dry paper towel in with greens to absorb moisture, not a damp one.
Hi I’ve been using plain white vinegar, but now that I’ve learned it is from GMO corn I will be switching. I have found all my fruit lasts way longer after the bath, than fruit without bathing in vinegar and water.
Thanks for the post
Olivia @ Paulswindowclean
Great advice, I recently replaced white vinegar with ACV to wash both fruits and veggies at home and I must admit that the results are fantastic! I also used to use white vinegar as natural window cleaner but it’s obviously not that natural with the corn in it being GMO. Replaced here with apple cider as well and found out that it cleans just as good, plus the smell is way more pleasant than before.
Hi nice article. I was wondering, do some fruits and vegetables require more time in soaking than others? I remembering reading a few articles recommending 20 minutes of soak time. Also I remember reading that bugs can dig deep into the produce so that the produce should be cooked to kill the bugs inside whereareas the wash or soak for the produce is mostly to get rid of the outer bacteria contaminets etc.
Thanks Perry! I have not read anything about a longer soak being better; in fact, soaking longer could cook some produce. Yes, bugs can dig deep, but cooking isn’t the answer. A good soak, plus a good rinse (or two!) will kill and get rid of bugs. 🙂
I just finished cleaning some strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a few kiwi. The dirtiest water came from the kiwi!!
Wash away my friend, wash away!
Hey your post was very helpful just a quick question so I soak any fruit and vegetable in a bowl of bottled water and mix in some acv and then rinse of and let dry right? Some posts I’ve seen have said to add some baking soda into acv and then wash would that be a good idea? And would I do the same routine if I was to wash spinach lettuce kale or cilantro. Please reply.
And please can you also let me know if I wash my veges like peppers carrots eggplants etc. Can I cut and freeze them it won’t effect them will it.. I usually wash and cut and freeze them it’s the first time in be using something as I have been searching of pesticides and parasites. I have a very busy schedule and don’t get time to do a lot of preps for cooking but I like to eat at home. So I like to cut everything that can be cut and frozen like spinach eggplants and the rest of veges so if I wash it with your routine and freeze it won’t be an issue will it?
You can wash veggies this way too, but freezing affects the texture of some veggies. Carrots should be blanched first, and peppers are fine for straight to the freezer if you plan to use them cooked since they’ll lose their crunchiness. Washing shouldn’t effect your routine though!
Kiran – your acv/water for washing is doing the job just fine, and you can even skip the rinse. As for leafy greens, you can do the same but they don’t have to stay very long. Put them in, swish around and take them out.
I clean harder fruits like apples and pears with baking soda. Not only does it clean them, it also scrubs off the waxy coatings that are often put on grocery store versions of these fruits to make them look shiny.
Best regards! Raynes Park Carpet Cleaners Ltd.