Fresh berries are now reaching homes, most especially that these fruit types can be grown and cultivated within your backyard. If you happen to own your berry vineyard, you may come to think of the process of cleaning the fruits before consuming them. Before you grab your brush and water hose to clean your beloved fruit, you may need to rethink which of these fruits must be washed right away.
Yes, berries and other plants might contain fruit bugs and mites clinging on the fruit. Several berries might also be infused with pesticides and waxes to increase their shelf life—but can be dangerous for food consumption. However, some berries must be only washed just before it enters your mouth—for other reasons.
Do Blackberries Need to be Washed?
Technically, all fruits and vegetables must be washed thoroughly before it goes inside our digestive tract. When it comes to the art of washing berries, identifying the why and when relies on which type of berry you are handling. Berries are nature’s gift, but this precious gem is also fragile enough to be broken down through high pressure from a running faucet.
Strawberries, huckleberries, mulberries, and blueberries must be washed before placing them inside their respective containers. Washing the berries before storage removes dirt, grit, insects, and mites that might cling into these soft fruits while it is on the backyard. Blackberries, on the other hand, have delicate skin that can tear apart during the cleaning process.
The best time to clean blackberries is before consumption. Pre-washing blackberries and other fragile berries like raspberries and grapes might tear its tender skin. The said fruits also have a sponge-like property in which it absorbs moisture from the water.
In the case of blackberries, this will speed up the ripening process of this berry—making it prone to quick putrefaction. Blackberries still need to be washed before serving. Dirt, bugs, mites, and grit available on the fruit can be removed during the cleansing process.
Cleaning your fruits before consumption limits your chances of having a foodborne illness. To wash sensitive fruits like blackberries, you may consider doing the following reminders:
- Place your blackberries on a container enough for the water to run through.
- Slowly pour water onto the blackberry’s surface. This is to prevent the fruit’s skin and body from absorbing excess moisture.
- Allow the washed blackberry to drain using paper towels.
- Blackberries must be consumed as soon as it has been pre-washed.
- Unwashed blackberries must be separated from washed fruits to prevent cross-contamination.
- If there are bugs visible on the blackberries, you can soak your fruit bunches with a water-vinegar solution. You may replace vinegar with lemon or any citrus fruits. The acid found on vinegar/citrus can kill the bugs and mites present within the fruit.
Should Berries Be Washed Before Eating?
As mentioned earlier, washing berries before consumption is a must. This is to prevent foreign elements that might disrupt your digestive tract. Fruit bugs and mites found on some fruits may bring discomfort to your belly area—which can be consumed if you don’t wash your fruits.
Washing your berries days before consumption might not be a good choice. Cleaning your berries strip away the fruit’s natural wax coating that reduces its chance of excessive oxidation. Oxidation is responsible for the ripening process of the fruits. This process is also an inevitable means of fruit reproduction: every fruit degenerate through time.
Washing your fresh produce properly—whether it is local, organic, or non-GMO—will limit harmful pesticides, pests, and bacteria from entering your body stream. While several manufacturers and farms provide pre-washed produce, rewashing your fruits may be considered to prevent stomach issues due to cross-contamination.
During the pre-washing process, fruit batches are washed with sanitized water to remove dirt and bugs from the produce. The second wash will pass through a spray bar to remove intricate dirt and mites that might have still retained during the first wash. The third and final wash provides additional rinse on the fruit. Sanitizer, bleach, and other chemicals are not introduced during the pre-washing process.
Pre-washed produce promises to provide “ready-to-eat” fruit packs for every busy home. You may still wash these fruit bunch to maintain hygiene for your food. Cross-contamination during the shipping, handling, and delivery process is foreseeable. That is why washing pre-washed produce is still recommended.
What’s the Correct Way to Wash Blackberries or Berries?
Blackberries and other berries are tasty fruits that provide tart-sweet tones to several dishes like fruit pies, smoothies, ice cream, crisps, cookie icing, frosting, cakes, juice, and salads. These fruit types can be eaten plain or incorporated with other ingredients to elevate their already fruity flavor. Since blackberries tend to spoil in a quick time, this fruit is commonly purchased in frozen packs.
During the frozen process, fruit worms and other species may still be found inside the berries. Despite being frozen already, it can be uncomfortable for some to consume these frozen fruits. Good thing, there is still a way to wash your blackberries to prevent this issue from arising.
Aside from blackberries, you can use this method for other berries as well.
- Before handling your produce, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 minutes. This will provide a clean platform for your fruits. Gloves, masks, and other protective gear may be introduced during the cleaning process.
- Grab a paring knife. Use this utensil to cut any bruises and damages to your produce. If the bruises are more than half of the actual fruit, consider discarding them.
- After it is through, rinse all your fruits with running water. Open the faucet in moderate pressure to prevent water pressure from disrupting the fruit’s skin. Soap and other chemicals are not recommended during the cleaning process.
- For tough dirt, you may use a soft-bristle toothbrush or light brush to scrub away dirt and other grime to your meal. Dry the berries with a clean cloth or paper towel. Do not be tight on holding the food to prevent breaking it.