This is the best time of year for gardeners! There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables available straight from your garden. You can also find inexpensive fresh produce at a local market or even at supermarkets if you are not a gardener. The question is: how do you wash your fruits and vegetables?
In my previous blog “How clean are your fruits and vegetables?”, I suggested a few ways to wash off undesirable substances: dirt, bacteria, and traces of chemicals from the surface. Common ingredients are white vinegar and lemon. Sometimes people also add baking soda and salt.
This time I am introducing “Rice Water” as a fresh produce cleaner.
In Japan, people consume rice every day, because rice is the main staple food. Normally, rice is washed three times in cold water before cooking it. This rice water has been known to nourish house plants and can help soften daikon (white radish) when you cook with it. However, this water is usually unused and discarded.
Now, you can use this rice water to wash your fruits and vegetables!
You just have to soak fresh produce into this water and scrub the surface of fruits and vegetables with hands. Let them stand for awhile and then wash off with running water.
Moreover, this water is said to increase its strength to clean by fermentation. Leave this rice water for a day in room temperature and let it ferment. So, instead of using fresh rice water, rather wait a day to make it more effective.
I live in Canada with my family. Despite the fact that I was born and raised in Japan, I don’t cook rice as often as people in Japan. I typically cook rice once or twice a week. I have never heard of using rice water as a cleaning product. However, I encountered amazing ideas for using fermented rice water that people in Japan discovered. I was very impressed by this very ecological way of living and reinforced my love of fermentation!
Here are more ways to use Fermented Rice Water:
- Kitchen cleanser (oil stains, kitchen cloth, drainage, dishes and pots)
- Bathroom and toilet cleanser
- Water plants
- General house cleaning
- Wash hands, feet, and face
- Cooking (helps hard vegetables soften)
Let’s go back to washing fruits and vegetables. When I used white vinegar to wash vegetables, the vinegary smell stayed on the vegetables even after I washed them again in running water. So, I thought using vinegar to wash vegetables is fine, but maybe not suitable to wash fruits. Then I used lemon solution to wash fruits. It worked fine, but then I found that lemons are not cheap and I’d rather use them to make infused water!
Then I tried making fermented rice water. I used a large plastic bowl to store for a day (avoid any metals during fermentation process). When the water was fermented and ready, I put cauliflower into the bowl and waited for a while. The water was white and had no odor. What was going to happen to my cauliflower?
Well, I couldn’t tell how clean my vegetable became. However, I felt satisfied and safe using this method, because I believe in the power of fermentation and all the undesirable substances must be gone by the cleansing power of mighty microorganisms (good bacteria).
Try this very easy and ecological method to clean your fresh fruits and vegetables. I continually encourage you to consume as many fruits and vegetables daily for your healthy gut.
All is well and all the best!