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When to Wash Your Produce

hands washing bell peppers
iStock.com/jeffbergen

Most produce should not be washed before storage. The water and handling can erode the plant’s natural protective coating, making it more susceptible to damage and degradation on your counter or in your fridge. Instead, store most produce unwashed, and wait until you’re ready to prepare or eat it. If you like to leave fruit on the counter for “grab-and-go” purposes, you can wash apples, peaches, plums, and other fruits and then dry them with a towel.  For the in’s and out’s of how to wash produce to remove dirt and pesticide residue, we’ve got a whole article on just that topic.

The exception to the wait-to-wash rule is the leafy salad greens like spinach and different varieties of lettuce. They will keep better and longer if you wash them first. Then dry them completely before storing, either in a salad spinner or wrapped in cotton kitchen towels inside a sealed plastic bag.

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