Marquette General Heart Institute
- The Link
Fruits and Veggies”
by Deborah Sergey, RD
MGHS Cardiac Rehab Dietitian
and vegetables are an important
part of the American diet. It is
recommended that we eat at least five
servings or more of fruits and vegetables
each day. It is everyone’s responsibility
to make sure the food
they eat is safe and wholesome. Each
year, people get sick from foods that
have not been properly handled,
refrigerated, or cooked. If food is not
handled properly, germs can grow to
levels that make people sick.
At the store: Trust your senses.
Look for fresh-looking fruits and
vegetables that are not bruised, shriveled,
moldy, or slimy. Do not purchase
anything that smells bad, and do not
buy packaged vegetables that look
slimy. Buy only what you need that
can be used within a few days. Apples,
potatoes, and citrus fruits can be
stored longer. Handle produce gently
at the store.
At home: Put produce away
promptly. Keep most of your produce
in the crisper. Throw away any produce
that has been kept too long or if
it is moldy or slimy. Remember to
keep all cut fruits and vegetables
covered in the refrigerator.
Germs can adhere to the surface of
produce and can be passed to the flesh
when cut (cross contamination). The
most important thing you can do is
wash all fruits and vegetables in clean
drinking water before eating, even if
you do not plan to eat the skin, such
as melons or oranges. Wash the produce
just before you plan to use it, not
when you put it away.
Spraying: The best method for
washing ripe or fragile berry fruits --
strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
and blueberries -- is by spraying with a
kitchen sprayer. Use colander so you
can gently turn the fruit as you spray.
Immersion: If you do not have a
sink sprayer, berries and soft fruit
should be placed in a wire basket or
colander into a 5 to 8 quart pot of
warm water. Move the basket in and
out of the water several times. Change
the water until the water remains
clear. Do this process quickly. If the
fruit absorbs too much water, it will
lose flavor, texture, and aroma.
Dry: Dry with a paper towel.
Greens, such as spinach, chard, kale,
and collards should be cooked while
wet, immediately after washing.
Cold Water Washing: Produce used
in salads such as lettuce, radishes,
carrots, etc., should be washed in the
coldest tap water available to maintain
crispness. To get maximum crispness,
immerse the greens in a mixture of ice
cubes and water about a half hour
Do not use detergent when washing
fruits and vegetables. The detergent
residues will be left on the fruits
and vegetables. Produce items are
porous and will absorb the detergent.
The Food and Drug Administration
has not labeled detergent to be used