how to wash strawberries to remove pesticides

If you’re wondering how to wash strawberries to remove pesticides, there are a few simple methods you can use.

It’s essential to wash the strawberries thoroughly, as they are exceptionally porous and absorb chemicals and dirt.

Strawberries are a summer classic – red, round, and delicious.

They work well in sauces, and recipes, and are eaten raw, but are often covered in pesticide residue when you buy them from the grocery store.

To wash strawberries, use a saltwater or vinegar mixture and soak the fruit for a few minutes. This process should clean the strawberries completely.

Here is your guide on cleaning strawberries thoroughly!

Why You Should Wash Strawberries

why wash strawberry

Like many fruits, strawberries are laden with pesticide residue.

Pesticides aren’t necessarily evil in themselves – they prevent worms, bugs, and other bugs from getting into the fruit and ruining the harvest.

However, the chemicals they leave behind are dangerous for human consumption and should be removed from the fruit.

This isn’t only because of pesticides – fruit is handled by lots of people and some of it travels a long way to arrive in your neighborhood store.

It’s only fair to keep the food going directly into your mouth as cleanly as possible.

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Of course, pesticides are the main issue when washing strawberries. Germs and dirt can come off with a regular water rinse.

So, does washing strawberries remove pesticides?

If you want to remove all the traces of pesticides from your strawberries, you should perform a more intensive cleaning than just water through a strainer.

Tip: Any fruit you buy at the grocery should be washed.

Why Are Pesticides Necessary?

why pesticide important

Pesticides are sprayed on non-organic crops to protect them from insects, blights, and other pests that could ruin the harvest.

Without pesticides, the number of harvestable crops would dwindle because of the pests that naturally eat them or make them inedible to humans.

Pesticides are made of chemicals meant to kill or repel anything usually attracted to a cultivated plant.

In the natural circle of life, this includes bugs, mites, and other small pests. Pesticides also regulate the plant’s growth by including nitrogen and other nutrients.

Organically grown food usually doesn’t have pesticides sprayed on it. If it does, those pesticides are organic and naturally based.

While it’s better for the environment, humans, and the natural cycle, organic growth isn’t as efficient.

Organic food is more likely to have small mites or bugs and is always more expensive.

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Nothing that is overly harmful to humans or the environment can be used.

However, it’s not healthy to ingest pesticides directly, so it’s recommended that fruits and vegetables are washed before consumption.

Note: All pesticides are government-regulated and must be registered before they are sprayed on plants.

When To Wash Strawberries

when to wash strawberries

Strawberries should be cleaned right before use. If you wash your strawberries when you bring them home, the extra water will soak into the pores of the fruit, and they will spoil sooner.

Even though it might seem counterintuitive, wait to wash your strawberries until directly before eating them or putting them in a recipe.

Most people don’t wash strawberries at all when they get to this point, assuming that they were washed when unpacking the groceries or at the store.

Unfortunately, the pesticides are still on the strawberries, and it’s crucial to wash them thoroughly before using them in any recipe.

How to Wash Strawberries to Remove Pesticides

wash the strawberries to remove pesticides

If you’ve bought strawberries and are worried about the remnants of sprayed pesticides, learning how to clean strawberries to remove pesticides is a must.

There are ways to clean them that will make the fruits safe for consumption.

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Here are three methods of washing strawberries that remove most pesticides.

Method 1: Cold Water

Rinsing strawberries in cold water is a great start, especially if you don’t have any other options.

If you’re away from home or don’t have access to vinegar or salt, cold water is a decent solution to clean your strawberries.

wash with cold water

A cold water rinse will clean up to 80% of the pesticides from the strawberries.

It’s not as thorough as the other methods on this list, but it is an excellent way to start cleaning strawberries.

To clean the strawberries, follow these steps:

  • Put the strawberries into a strainer.
  • Run cold, clean water over the strawberries, ensuring that you rinse them thoroughly.
  • Repeat the process.
  • Pat the berries dry or let them air dry.

Method 2: Salt Water

While cold water will release 80% of the dirt and pesticides from the pores of the berry, it would be better to find a way to get rid of all of the chemicals.

Adding salt to the water will do this, as the salt cleans the pores of the berries of any larva or remaining chemicals.

rinse with salt water

Here is the process for cleaning strawberries with salt water:

  • Pour eight cups of warm water into a bowl.
  • Add 2 ½ tablespoons of salt – any kind will do.
  • Once the salt dissolves and the water cools, add the strawberries to the bowl.
  • Let the berries soak for five minutes.
  • Rinse the strawberries thoroughly with cold water and pat them dry.
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The salt will enter the pores of the berries and kill any remaining larva or tiny worms.

This system works well for organic fruit as well as fruit with pesticides, this can also help prolong your strawberry.

By rinsing the berries, you will remove any salty taste. A salt soak leaves strawberries clean and firm without any pesticide residue.

The moisture and salt will begin to break down the skin, and they won’t be as firm. Rinse them after to keep the skin’s structure intact.

Note: You mustn’t leave the berries in the water longer than five minutes.

Method 3: Vinegar

Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent in any situation, and clearing pesticides from berries is no exception.

rinse with vinegar

For the quickest and most effective way to remove all the pesticides from your strawberries, use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Vinegar is acidic and will decompose a strawberry quickly, so you must mix it with water. The best ratio is four parts cold water to one part vinegar.

The exact amount of this mixture depends on how many strawberries you’re cleaning, but the cleaning agent will be strong enough to clear pesticides without damaging the strawberries.

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Here are the steps for cleaning your strawberries with vinegar:

  • Make a vinegar and water solution of four parts cold water to one part vinegar.
  • Soak your strawberries in the mixture for five minutes.
  • Rinse the strawberries thoroughly with cold water.
  • Pat the berries dry or let them air dry.
Because of the low vinegar concentration in the mixture, the strawberries will not have a vinegar aftertaste.

However, you can still rinse them after to ensure a clean and fresh taste and keep the integrity of the skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

faqs about strawberry

Here are some frequently asked questions about strawberries and their nutritional value, as well as more information about pesticides and washing strawberries.

How Likely Are Strawberries to Have Pesticides?

All non-organic fruits are extremely likely to have pesticide residue because that is how fruit farmers keep bugs and pests from ruining the crops.

However, some fruits absorb more pesticides than others.

Strawberries, unfortunately, are at the very top of the list for dirty fruits.

Known as the “dirty dozen,” these pesticide-heavy fruits have open pores and act like sponges for the remaining pesticides. Strawberries are especially porous.

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Do Organic Strawberries Have Pesticides on Them?

Organic strawberries are grown without any chemicals or other pesticides.

For the most part, you will be safe using organic strawberries without a deep-clean or vinegar wash.

However, you should still rinse organic strawberries.

Even though they might not have had pesticides applied, there’s a chance that the chemicals wafted over from a non-organic field.

Note: Organic strawberries tend to have more bugs.

Are Organic Strawberries Better for You?

While organic strawberries have fewer pesticides, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better for you.

Their health depends on the growth and breeding of strawberry plants. All strawberries have the same nutrients and vitamins, just in different amounts.

So, What is the Best Way to Get Pesticides Off Strawberries?

Now that you know how to wash strawberries to remove pesticides, it’s up to you to choose which method you use.

Vinegar and saltwater are the most rigorous and will clean the strawberries completely.

With these methods, you’ll be able to use the fruit in recipes or eat it raw in perfect safety.

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