Cleaning methods are not the most exciting topic but it is crucial – especially when you’re juicing for health. Sure, the nutrients you’re supplying your body with are great for you – but it’s not so great when you might also be ingesting bacteria, and various chemicals and pesticides.
That’s why you want to make damn sure you’re washing your produce thoroughly.
Just as juicing allows you to take in a concentrated dose of nutrients from more fruits and veggies than you can eat – it can also allow you to take in more than your fair share of the bad stuff.
So, the first step in juicing for health actually doesn’t have to do with juicing at all – it has to do with making sure your produce is clean and free of bacteria, pesticides, and dirt. See other common juicing mistakes!
***For maximum cleanliness from pesticides and harmful GMOs, it’s best to buy organic. If you can’t buy all organic, check out this list for the fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic (the ones highest in pesticides) and just buy these organic.
Quick Guide to Washing Produce Before Juicing
To wash leafy greens, give them a little bath. In vinegar. Fill up a basin with cold water and pour a half cup of vinegar in it. Soak your leafy greens in the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes, swirling them around to loosen dirt and insects caught in the leaves.
Then transfer your leafy greens to a colander and rinse under cold water, making sure the water hits every part of every leaf.
Vegetables with peels
For veggies that have peels – cucumbers, beets, carrots – it’s not necessary to peel them if they’re organic and the peels are not too hard for your juicer. These are pretty simple to clean using this mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide and vegetable scrubber to give them a thorough cleaning. OXO’s flexible veggie scrubber is great for getting into even the tiniest nooks.
For the crucifers – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts – it’s more difficult to get germs and bacteria that might be stuck in the tight florets. It’s best to blanch these vegetables by sticking them in hot water for about 10 seconds – not long enough to cook, just long enough to disinfect – before juicing them.
Delicate, soft fruits are best washed right before eating, juicing, or blending. This type of produce is a little tricky to wash since running them under water could burst or ruin them. In my opinion, the best way to wash soft fruits thoroughly without damaging them is to use a professional-grade fruit and veggie washer (see below).
These are quite affordable and a good investment, especially if you plan to juice a lot of produce. Otherwise, soft fruits like berries are best washed by placing them in a colander and then soaking them in fresh water to remove some of the dirt and pesticides. Then, dump the water and then repeat 2 – 3 times with fresh water.
How to Wash Produce Before Juicing
Use a Professional-Grade Cleaning System
If you’re washing a lot of fruits and veggies and want a professional cleaning system that removes dirt, as well as bacteria, fungi, viruses, chemicals, and pesticides – opt for a professional grade fruit and vegetable washer. These units can run up to several thousand dollars, but there are some affordable options as well.
I personally like the O3 Pure Elite’s Fruit and Vegetable Washer, which like many professional washers, uses ozone technology to wash contaminants from food – including fruits, veggies, sea food, meats, etc. I’ve used similar units before (i.e. the Tersano Lotus Sanitizing System, which broke down on me and was twice the cost of O3’s Elite) but I especially like this one for its affordability and simplicity. You can buy it on Amazon.
This washer is really easy to use – which means I actually use it – with only 2 parts. It also takes no time to wash and doesn’t take up much counter space either.
It holds a decent amount of produce and I often just dump the ozone-ated water into my spray mister and touch-up my already washed, stored produce before I eat or juice it. Really simple and convenient and great for softer produce as well.
Use a Cleaning Liquid and a Scrubber Brush
Another less expensive option is to simply wash your produce with a disinfecting solution made out of a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. When you’re planning on leaving the peels on, make sure you give it a good scrub with a vegetable scrubber!