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Washing Grape Tomatoes

Chowhounders, help me settle a bet. Do you wash small, organic tomatoes that come in a plastic container?

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  1. Yes. They never see the inside of the fridge but they do get a shower, then a shake in the strainer.

    1. absolutely. store at room temp, unwashed...then a quick rinse (and if they're really dirty, a gentle roll in a paper towel or kitchen towel) just before serving/using.

      2 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Definitely agree. Just rinsed some for salad this evening.

        2. definitely. rinse then a roll in a paper towel. they may not have pesticides on them, but there's often visible dirt.

          1. You can rinse them all you want, but unless you're buying them in the greenmarket, they've already been washed multiple times in the processing. But yes, never below 40 degrees.

            1 Reply
            1. re: walterbode

              They may have been washed in processing but they have to travel a bit before they get to my kitchen counter...from the packers to the truck, to the warehouse then the grocers store room then the shelf and its not like those little clamshell containers are impervious opening when dropped or being picked over by "hands on" shoppers... so yes I wash them.

            2. Yes - never refrigerate, always wash. Curious - which side are you on - wash or no?

              3 Replies
              1. re: gansu girl

                Wash. Wash.Wash. I even wash pre-washed lettuce. Wash.

                1. re: beggsy

                  "pre-washed" lettuce was rated as one of the 5 dirties foods!! I, too, wash it

                2. re: gansu girl

                  Jeez, after reading all this, I'm embarrassed to say that I was on the no wash side. I'm converted! =)

                3. Yes, always. I bathe rather than rinse, though, by letting them swim in a big bowl of diluted vinegar for a min or two while I do something else.

                  1. I always wash my veggies including the prewashed ones. You don't know where they've been. I've seen documentries on the prewashed veggies and it's not very clean in my opinion. From the packing facilities to the market, you never know what's been done so I always wash no matter what.

                    1. We ve been known to eat these without washing.
                      But usually I run water over them.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jen kalb

                        my sister used to eat them straight from the container without washing (she buys conventional too, but that's a separate issue). anyway, she came to stay with me once, and i caught her just as she was about to eat some of the unwashed organic grape tomatoes i had on the counter, took them from her, rinsed them, wiped them on a paper towel, and showed her the towel with the yellow residue on it. she's never eaten an unwashed tomato since :)

                      2. ABSOLUTELY!!! Wash ANYTHING that comes from the produce department of your grocery store!!! With all of the recent scares of *salmonella*, AND you don't know where
                        the item was stored and held....nor who handled it before it got to your store. Even the store employees...you don't know where their hands have been nor if (or how often) they wash their hands before touching the produce. A lot of sickness is transported and passed on to others this way.

                        I put a squirt of dish detergent into warmish water (not too hot) and swoosh grapes, cherries, tomatoes, etc. around in it. Then rinse well and allow to drip or dry in clean paper toweling or kitchen towel.

                        Even frozen packaged vegies (learned this from my Mom)....put into collander and run warmish water over to thaw and rinse before cooking. You don't know where or what waters they used or methods that were used in the processing plants.

                        A small amount of Clorox can also be used to disinfect most produce with a smooth skin. Of course, rinse well, but Clorox dissipates into the air and leaves no residue nor any off taste and does kill germs. (Don't use on frozen veggies!!)

                        Oh yes!! I forgot to mention the customers. They also have their hands into and onto the items....they pick up and put down in selecting what they want. They press, pinch, and probe before placing into their cart for purchase. Then also people cough, sneeze and hold conversations over the store's produce tables and bins!

                        1. Of course. With tomatoes there's not even a question, as washing them has no effect on the flavor. Now berries, on the other hand, especially of the raspberry/blackberry family - that's another matter. I think washing them definitely does hurt the flavor so if I'm comfortable with where I got them (self-picked, or from a farmer's market) they go straight in my mouth. I've probably ingested a baby spider or two over the years, but hey - it's all good for the immune system!