Those beautiful apples you see in the supermarket? They’re covered in wax.
The lemons, limes, even oranges that have a lovely sheen to them?
I don’t have a problem with wax on the outside of my fruit. It’s pretty much an industry standard to spray a fine film of wax, lacquer or resin to coat our produce to prevent the loss of moisture from inside the fruits or vegetables.
But, I don’t want to eat that wax. How can it safely be removed?
You know how your mom nagged you to “rinse the grapes” before you popped one into your mouth? She was onto something there. Even though the FDA believes that the produce coatings used on our foods are considered safe, I don’t like eating chemicals when I’m trying to consume healthy fruits and vegetables.
The good news is that just a little bit of water rinsing is about all you need to remove not only the coating on your produce, but water will also remove most of the microorganisms that are on the produce that can cause food-borne illnesses.
Some produce has thicker coatings of wax. For these you might want to use a soft vegetable brush and scrub them under running water to clean off any residue. Still need more? A tiny amount of baking soda will give you just enough grit to remove even the most stubborn coatings off your produce.
Another way to clean the coatings off produce and help things like strawberries and blackberries or raspberries to stay fresher longer is to add the juice of one lemon to a bowl of rinse water. No lemon? Try using half a cup of apple cider vinegar. This combination of water and a fruit-based acid is often enough to clean the produce and in the case of berries, prevents that irritating mold and fungus that often appears the day after you bring the berries home.
What about those produce washes you find in the store? It has been determined that they are no more effective at cleaning our produce than water. Stick with water, baking soda, and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
And never wash your produce with dish soap or bleach. These leave food residue on your food that is not considered food safe.