There is nothing better than walking out to the garden and picking up everything you need for tea that night. A beautiful cauliflower, some potatoes, lettuce, peas, carrots and the list goes on and on. Most backyard gardeners probably do not use pesticides or herbicides, but if you do you for sure need to be washing your fruit prior to eating. If not I would still suggest rinsing and ensuring you are free and clear of all bugs. Nothing worse than diving into dinner and having a bite of cauliflower with a side of earwig…yummy! (Earwigs have got to be the most disgusting insects…I’m sorry I just can’t handle them and they thrive in floral vegetables as there are so many nooks and crannies they can hide in).
So the ‘lovely’ earwig is actually what inspired my post. I pulled a stunning cauliflower from the garden today to roast up for dinner tonight and once I got cutting it up out come the ear wigs – not heaps just a few but enough to make me cringe. So how do you ensure you are free of the little pests before cooking? Not all vegetables follow the same cleaning process…so I thought I would share some of my tricks and hacks for this.
Cleaning your garden vegetables naturally
Before cleaning your vegetables, make sure your hands are clean -using soap and water and washing for about 20 seconds. Also make sure your work space that you will be using is cleaning to avoid cross-contamination with meat and other fruit/vegetables for example, leafy greens, berries and root vegetables should not be prepared together. Clean cutting boards and knives are best to use. Really the point of washing is to make sure all visible dirt is removed and any pesky insects have disappeared.
Floral Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke) – soak in a clean bowl with cool water and lemon juice for 2 minutes. Rinse after soaking with cool water.
Root Vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot etc) -you can use a scrub brush or just your hands cleaning off all visible dirt from the vegetable.
Leafy Vegetables (lettuce, spinach, kale etc) -remove the outside layer and rinse under cool water – again removing all visible dirt (no more than 2 minutes) -you will want to dry these before eating as well. I use the ‘tea towel whip’ method. Grab a clean tea towel – put lettuce on it for example – head outside and ‘whip it, whip it real good’, back and forth so majority of the water is removed from the leaves.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and peppers just need a quick rinse under cool water.
If you are ever in doubt with your fruits or vegetables and are unsure or just want the extra clean – a little lemon juice and distilled vinegar with water is a great natural cleaner. (Although I would not suggest on using on berries)
Now back to my roasted cauliflower which is working away in the oven – yum, yum…a little bit of olive oil, Parmesan cheese and garlic scapes. Delicious!