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Jun 21, 2007 10:00 AM

Don't ever wash raspberries - Good Advice??

So I was watching food network at the gym over my lunch hour (somehow I always feel guilty having the elliptical screen on that channel, but I can't help myself!) and Ina Garten said something that I haven't heard before. She said "don't ever wash raspberries because they absorb water".

On some level I guess this makes sense, but I'm kind of a freak about getting rid of chemicals, dirt, or anything else that may have attached itself to fruits and veggies during commercial processing. Is this advice that should be followed? Or is it more important to wash off the fruit? I'd love to hear your opinions.

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  1. Wash everything that is not cooked, that's jfood's philosophy. And that includes the stuff that says "pre-washed, no need to wash." Yeah right.

    And jfood hears you on the screen thing. Mid-afternoon on the screens above the machines :

    1 - Bloomberg
    2 - Rachel Ray
    3 - People's Court

    Great hoot and all the exercise allows jfood to eat more good stuff.

    1. Have to say - I never wash raspberries, for that reason. I don't wash mushrooms either - just wipe off the dirt with a slightly damp paper towel, or my mushroom brush when I can find it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        I was under the impression that a light rinse-not soaking-just before using berries, etc. was ok.

        1. re: markabauman

          That may well be - I'm probably being lazy though as well (grin).

        2. re: MMRuth

 mushroom brush has taken a powder, too....has it eloped with yours????

          1. re: MMRuth

            ATK did an experiement disproving the mushrooms absorb water theory.

            In any event, knowing what mushroom soil is comprised of, a little water is waaaay better than mushroom soil.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I'm a huge raspberry lover. Try to eat it every now and then although it's little expensive compared to other fruits. And it's organic. I have to say without even knowing or hearing about washing raspberries I wash before eating the fruits. Well I noticed that raspberries are water absorbent fruits; in that sense I just rinse them off while the fruits are still in the plastic box.

            2. It depends on the source of your berries. Commercially purchased, even organic, I give them a quick passing under cold running water and let them drain. If I have picked them, and I'm familiar with the area, I might not give them a rinse.

              More generally, don't wash your produce until you're about to use it, as the water can accelerate deterioration.

              BTW - I'm in complete agreement with MMRuth on mushrooms. Water is their enemy. If you're dealing with anyone who has a compromised immune system, though, these suggestions are out the window.

              5 Replies
              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                I just saw an episode of Good Eats where Alton 'smashed the myth' that washing mushrooms causes them damage. He said the surface skin of mushrooms is the same chitin that covers shellfish, and water does them no harm.

                1. re: mojoeater

                  I saw the Alton Brown episode to which you refer, and as annoying as I find AB sometimes, his science is normally spot on. That said, about absorbtion: True of the cap, not of the gills.

                2. re: hungry_pangolin

                  Wash them -they have chemicals on them. Wait until you are about to use them and drain on paper towels. If you don;t wash them you are risking a major stomach upset or worse.

                  1. re: emilief

                    Rinsing produce with water doesn't do anything to remove chemicals, or germs that could cause stomach upset. It will get rid of some surface dirt, but that's about it.

                    1. re: mcgeary

                      depends on whether the stuff is water soluble or not. you aren't going to get petro off your food, but you can minimize (most) surface bacteria.

                3. I have wild raspberrys, and blackberrys at the back of my property, and I give them a quick wash with some cold water in a collander after picking. I dont think a quick wipe will remove the possible deer, fox, coyote, stray dog, or cat urine if they decided thats where they wanted to relieve themselves.

                  Mine are actually almost all ripe, I am going to harvest them this weekend.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: swsidejim

                    Yeah, I am so with you on washing berries ... who knows where that 'extra flavor' Ina Garten thinks she is getting comes from.

                    For the marginal, if any, flavor you might or might not get, you are risking your health. That being said, I do swipe an unwashed berry or two at the market and the way home and the taste is no different than the washed and safer berries. Like someone else said though, only wash just before eating.

                    Ditto on mushrooms. Wash them. And if you are not convinced. Wash one and brush the dirt of another. See if you can tell the difference.

                    I remember this show about a mushroom farmer and they asked him if he ever ate mushrooms. He said rarely raw and he would wash them a lot if he did. Gosh I've got to think that wild mushrooms have an even greater chance of being contaminated since they grown on the ground. Berries are on vines and less subject to yellow rain.

                    1. re: rworange

                      I agree 100%, perhaps some like the possible "gamey" taste of the unwashed raspberry but not I.

                      I also wash mushrooms, since they are grown in manure, and sand, that is really an unappetizing thought to get a taste of that.

                      When I was mowing the lawn last week, I checked out the raspberrys & blackberrys, and used my bottle of water to wash a couple & ate them....really sweet.., I think they should all be good for the picking this weekend... I have to get them all picked before the birds and other animals beat me to it.

                      1. re: swsidejim

                        good point jim

                        gotta get to the back of the property and check out the raspberries. hopefully the deer left some this year

                        1. re: jfood

                          Last year they beat me to it, it not going to happen again... : )

                      2. re: rworange

                        urine is sterile, you realize that?

                        1. re: rworange

                          Dear, do you drink vinegar? In Anything? That's far more biologically contaminated than most things..

                      3. If they've been sprayed with chemicals, washing them won't gt rid of them. Raspberries, like strawberries suck up every molecule of pesticide they get.

                        I only buy organic berries, in season, locally, and i don't wash them. Instead, I pick them over for "extraneous materials" that might have gotten mixed in. I was a Girl Scout... I've eaten my share of dirt... ;>)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ChefJune

                          Yeah, that's generally my thinking. I don't wash the berries I grow in my yard and on occasion wash the ones I buy, but I pretty much stick to organic. Berries (particularly strawberries) are some of the most heavily sprayed fruit and washing won't get rid of all the pesticides.