here I go again -

Ok - “Antiseptic Annie” believes in washing everything. It’s just something that has been done in my family for generations - and I am just as bad if not worse.

Sure, potatoes are “dirty” - you can see and feel it when you touch them. Immediately after purchasing, I place them in my wicker potato basket and store in a cool, dry place (and not near my onion basket!) When I am going to use them - I scrub them with the pastry brush. Even if I am not eating the skins - they get washed.

And even bananas and watermelons - even though you don’t eat the skins - get washed. Yes bananas! Do you know that a good 100 people could have touched those bananas before you even touched them? Just think about it - how many of those people had something contagious, or the flu, or better yet - USED THE BATHROOM AND NEVER WASHED THEIR HANDS?

All produce should be washed at home just before it is eaten. Washing it in advance will cut down on its shelf life and promote bacterial growth.

No soap. Don’t be silly! Do you want everyone to get sick?? There are special produce washes - but I prefer not to use them - I can just imagine what is in them! Cool running water is much easier, more economical and just as effective.

Want a special wash??? Make your own wash - water, lemon juice and baking soda - that’s it - it’s that simple.

And use running water. Hold your produce under running water for 20 to 30 seconds at least.

Root vegetables need much more agressive cleaning - like scrubbing with a brush.

Delicate (easily bruised) items should be held under cool running water and gently scrubbed by hand. Pay attention to any crevices or other parts that may hold dirt and microbes can hide.

If you are using a brush or a scrubber, be sure to wash the scrubber after each use. If you have a dishwasher - toss it in. Eradicate the bacteria!

Remember that peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes have more pesticide residues than any other produce.

Onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papaya have the least amount of pesticides.

BANANAS, AVOCADOS AND WATERMELON: Scrub skin with a scrubber to eliminate contamination that could be trasferred to flesh after touching or cutting through the exterior.

CANTALOUPE: This needs EXTRA scrubbing! There have been many salmonella outbreaks caused from cantaloupes.

APPLES, PLUMS, TOMATOES, PEARS AND PEACHES: These bruise easily so it’s best to wash under cool running water.

RASPBERRIES: Rinse with a gentle spray of cool water.

LEAFY GREENS: Remove the outer leaves (Iceberg, cabbage, etc.) and rinse the inner portions and use your salad spinner to dry them.

PREWASHED BAGGED GREENS: First of all - I do not believe in these at all. I call them pre-embalmed mixes. Think about it - buy the items fresh and store them in your fridge for a week and take a good look at them - they are ready to be tossed. But yet - these bagged items sit for how long on the store shelf and have an expiration date 2 to 3 weeks or more away! If you must buy them - I would definitely wash them under running water for quite some time!

MUSHROOMS: These are pourous and they have a spongelike reaction to water and should not be washed. Instead it is said they should be gently rubbed with a soft brush or a clean rag to clean them. I wash them before using them.

BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER: Break and cut into florets; transfer to colander and rinse under cool water. Do not soak broccoli - but I do soak cauliflower in salted water to kill the parasites.

I wash it all - peel and trim carrots and wash; peel onions and wash - I rinse my roasts, steaks, ribs, chicken, fish, etc. before cooking - everything gets washed. Habit, habit, habit.