Washing fruits and vegetables before eating: how important is it really?

Sticker on fruit and vegetables: PLU code explained

Many people think it is unnecessary to wash fruits and vegetables before eating them, or they fear that important nutrients will be lost as a result. Others believe that this avoids the ingestion of germs and possible pesticides. But what is true? CHIP clarifies.

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almost all conventional farms use pesticides to prevent major yield losses. According to the federal institute for risk assessment (bfr), there are currently about 650 approved pesticides that can leave residues on crops even when used properly.

In addition, food can come into contact with germs, mold spores and other bacteria during transport and storage in supermarkets or discounters, which consumers eat unnoticed.

Always wash fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables should always be washed before consumption

image: getty images

The consumer advice center therefore advises that fruit and vegetables should always be washed thoroughly and dried with a kitchen towel or paper before consumption.

Washing with hot water has no effect on pesticide contamination, as a study by the albstadt-sigmaringen university of Applied sciences shows. The best is simply cold water.

If you are still unsure about removing the unwanted substances with just water, you can also go to a

And what about organic products?

Image: getty images

Organic fruit and vegetables should also be washed under running water before consumption. Although pesticides are not allowed in organic farming, dirt and germs can also accumulate on the surface during transport and storage in the supermarket.

Wash before peeling anyway

Even if many think it: peeling is often a bad idea. Because most of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables are found directly under the skin. For example, the skin of an apple and the flesh directly underneath it contain up to 70 percent of the vitamins.

It is best to wash the food and then eat it directly with peel. But beware: wash the fruits and co. Not too long in advance and store them like this. Otherwise, your refrigerator will become too humid and disrupt the natural protective layer of fruits and vegetables.

It is also advisable to eat fruits and vegetables that do not have their skins on.B. Potatoes, kiwis or melons, still to be washed in advance. Because when they peel, they first touch the dirty peel and then the flesh of the fruit, spreading germs and bacteria as well.

Washing fruits and vegetables correctly – this is how to do it

leafy vegetables should better not be washed under running water

Picture: getty images

Depending on the variety, you should pay attention to special features, so that all the good nutrients are preserved and also the taste does not change. Popular mistakes creep in, for example, with:

Berriesstrawberries, raspberries and blueberries should never be washed under a hard water jet. This can cause the skin to break down, diluting the taste.

Put the berries in a bowl before washing them saladchop leafy vegetables and salads only very coarsely and cut away hard outer leaves, rotten parts and the stalks. Now wash the leaves in a bowl of cold water and avoid cleaning the vegetables under running water. This way you can preserve the vitamins and nutrients they contain. The same goes for fresh herbs, by the way.

Mushrooms: mushrooms, chanterelles and co. Should not be washed, as this can result in the loss of aromatic substances. Instead you should clean mushrooms only with a special mushroom brush.

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