By Heidi Glaus
St. Louis (KSDK) -- NewsChannel 5 viewer Sarah, of Troy, Illinois, wants to know how to properly wash fruits and vegetables. NewsChannel 5's Heidi Glaus talked to a dietician at St. Louis Children's Hospital to find out the answer in this week's Hey Heidi question.
You've obviously heard an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it helps if that apple's been washed.
"In this organic age we think of pesticides and that's what we worry about, but it's really the food borne illness that is a big player as well," explains Tara Todd, a registered dietician at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
That means even an apple needs a little elbow grease.
"The recommendation is a soft-sided brush," Todd says.
It's something most of us do automatically with potatoes.
"Think about potatoes they're dirty, I mean really they're dirty, so you're scrubbing those," Todd points out.
And well, that should be the standard with every fruit and vegetable we pick up.
"Sometimes people think that if they're not going to eat the peel like let's say a cantaloupe, you're not going to wash it. You do because when you cut through it and there are germs on the outside you just took them through the entire inside of that fruit," Todd explains.
On the other hand, you can literally see dirt on a mushroom. However, they're a bit more delicate and require the rub of a wet paper towel.
Lettuce requires even more attention.
"You're going to take off those lettuce leaves and soak that. You definitely want to spend some time getting all the dirt from the inside crevices of the lettuce," Todd goes on to say.
But nothing should be washed with soap.
"We don't want to wash our vegetables with anything except cold water," Todd adds.
And for the record, it doesn't matter if it's organically grown or not, fruits and vegetables simply need to be scrubbed.