Thanks to the recent deadly listeria discovered in cantaloupe and the latest news about the virus being found in Romaine lettuce, most folks are wondering “What’s next?”
Tainted melons and lettuce have been voluntarily recalled by their distributors, but if you suspect you’ve already purchased any of the affected produce, get rid of it, pronto. Then thoroughly clean and sanitize any surfaces it may have come in contact with.
The recent events are a good reminder to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. And clean up thoroughly after prepping produce. Wash your hands, cutting board, and utensils so that you don’t transfer germs to other food. Here’s how to be firm with germs:
1. Before slicing a melon or grapefruit (or any other fruit that you slice through to get to the good stuff), wash the outside of the fruit with soap and hot running water. If the skin is carrying any bacteria, and you don’t wash it first, you’ll drag those germs through the fruit with the very first cut.
2. Most bacteria and dirt are trapped near the ends of fresh fruit and vegetables, where the blossom fell off or the stem was attached. So before you wash that zuke or cuke, slice off—and dispose of—the ends.
3. Soak salad greens in a large bowl filled with cold water, 4 tablespoons of salt, and the juice of a whole fresh lemon. Let them sit for about 5 minutes, then rinse ‘em under cold water.
4. Wash waxy fruit or veggies, then sprinkle on a little baking soda, and use a damp paper towel to rub the coating off. Rinse each piece thoroughly when you’re done.
5. Keep a bottle of this germ-killer handy to clean smooth-skinned fruits and veggies: Mix 1 cup of white vinegar and 3 cups of water in a handheld sprayer bottle and spritz your fruit or veggies with the solution. Count to 10, and then rinse it off under running water.
For more tips and tricks for selecting and preparing everything from apples to yogurt properly, check out my Giant Book of Kitchen Counter Cures—FREE for 21 days. You’ll get plenty of solid nutritional information, practical advice and over 111 fresh, easy-to-make recipes that’ll tempt your tummy and help keep you out of the doctor’s office.