Make This Easy DIY Vegetable Spray
Eliminate bacteria, pests and pesticides from your summertime harvest with these simple, inexpensive formulas.
Whether you grow your own, buy into a CSA, or pick up your vegetables at the grocery store or farm stand; dirt, bugs, and chemicals are often a part of our summertime harvest. It’s important to carve out time to clean your greens before consumption. With a DIY vegetable wash, it’s easier than ever to battle bacteria, pesticide residue, and residual bugs and dirt to make your fresh foods table-ready in no time at all.
Lemon and white vinegar are commonalities in most vegetable washes that we’ve tried; no surprise, really – both are natural disinfectants that we use in the home to make cleansers. Salt is often added to the food-safe mixture too, as a study in the Journal of Food Protection found that the vinegar’s ability to kill E. Coli bacteria was enhanced with the presence of sodium chloride (or glucose).
For all vegetables, I use a three-step cleaning approach that begins and ends with a plain water rinse.
Here’s what I use to make my favorite DIY vegetable spray that’s good for cleaning fruits and vegetables:
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar
- fresh-squeezed juice of 1/2 of a lemon
- (optional: Boil the water with 2 tablespoons of salt until it dissolves, and then chill and store for future use - salt water!)
Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle. Do an initial plain water rinse of the foods you’re cleaning, and then in a large bowl or colander, spray the surfaces of the vegetables and allow them to rest in contact with the spray for two minutes. Re-rinse the foods, and then dry and store for future use, or immediately consume.
For straight-up greens, like lettuce, spinach, and collard varieties, I modify my three-step washing and rinsing approach:
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3 cups of cold water
- 1 tablespoon of salt
Pre-rinse the greens under the faucet to loosen and remove soil that embedded into the folds of the stem.
Mix a ratio of distilled white vinegar, cold water, and salt in a large mixing bowl (if you’re tackling a big harvest, double the ingredients). Plunge the greens into the mixture, and allow them to sit for two minutes. When you lift the leaves out of the bowl of water, be sure not to mix the water up, because there’s probably a bit of soil and sediment resting on the bottom of the bowl.
Once they’ve soaked, re-rinse the greens once more with cold water and dry to store.