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Washing Salad Greens - Over The Top?!

I know we're all supposed to wash salad greens - even ones that have been 'triple washed.' But the most recent issue of Southern Living described a method that left me slack-jawed. They put down a multi-step process that required rinsing with distilled water, then a hydrogen peroxide distilled water solution, then again with distilled water. Am I alone in thinking this is way over the top?

Do any Chowhounders use distilled water? Or hydrogen peroxide?

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  1. No you are not alone. That is ridiculous.

    1. WOW,who has that kind of $$$$$ ?Who lives with that level of risk?What are the topical contaminants such as to require hydrogen peroxide ?If it's that bad would you still eat it ?
      RAW ?
      Often during the years we lived in Asia sanitation was an issue,even the "wash" water.
      Answer was to "cook" when in doubt,stir fries,soups and pickles.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lcool

        The cost would be huge - on top of the time. I just can't think why in the US where most water supplies are quite safe that they would feel the need to ask for distilled water!

      2. There was a thread I started not too long ago about washing salad greens. In the end I concluded that when you are having pre-washed salad greens or eating the interior of an iceberg lettuce, it's really not worth it uless your greens need crisping or have dirt or sand on them. Maybe I will live to regret it, but I have never gotten sick from tainted lettuce, nor do I know anyone who had. That doesn't mean that it doesn't happen -- the newspapers periodically write about various outbreaks of this and that -- but unless a lettuce is dirty or is harboring little bugs, a simple wash isn't going to remove anything that is there. Clearly this article has arrived at a similar conclusion and is delineating the method that is necessary to insure that anything that might make you sick is removed from your lettuce. IMHO, what a waste of time!

        2 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          I might be mistaken, but I thought that the "taint" in tainted lettuce actually grew into the leaves. Washing has no effect.

          1. re: evewitch

            no-salmonella (or other bacteria) would be on the outer surface of the leaves, from some sort of animal (fecal) contamination. Thorough washing/rinsing would remove it. It isn't taken into the vascular system of the plant.

        2. I use hydrogen peroxide--but not for washing greens. I did know somebody who washed all their fruits and vegetables with apple cider vinegar and I thought even that was over the top.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MrsT

            And then there was Kramer, who took his vegatables into the shower with him...

          2. I think the distilled water may be over the top, but not the hydrogen peroxide. Read this by Consumer Reports and then tell me if it's over the top. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/ma...

            3 Replies
            1. re: desertroze

              It *is* over the top for three reasons:

              1) By trying to eliminate all pathogens we are only helping them to evolve and become "super" which the medical community has little or no ability to deal with.

              2) By removing the small contacts with pathogens we are unable to build a resistance, as our immune systems have no knowledge of said pathogen. We are then in effect immunocompromised or immunodeficient by our own hand. Small or innocuous exposure is the basis of immunization.

              3) In trying to eliminate pathogenic bacteria from our lives we also destroy the healthful bacteria. Bacteria which we need for our bodies to effectively counter the pathogens we *will* be exposed to; as well as, for functions such as digestion.

              In the end if we endeavor to live in a perfectly sterile world, ala the Boy in the Bubble we risk a similar end. David Vetter (The Boy in the Bubble) died due to exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus. Due to his immunodeficiency EBV became rampant, uncontrollable cancer and he passed away not long after exposure through a bone marrow transplant. 95% of American adults carry EBV and generally our worst response (as we would normally be exposed at a young age) is Mono or Chronic Fatigue. Living in a clean world is one thing. Trying to make that world sterile has consequences I don't want to live with.

              1. re: just_M

                Why would you need to wash with distilled water when you drink tap water? This recommendation for cleaning greens is th product of an obsessive-compulsive neurotic.

                1. re: just_M

                  The article referred to pre-packed leaves and I understand they are very different to fresh un-prepped greens. When you prep a lettuce you make fresh cuts/tears and wash in fresh clean water, so no problem. On an industrial scale the salads are cut, then are washed in multi-use water and are then stored cut for a period of time. The washing and long storage period introduces risk, often mitigated by chemicals in the wash water or bags filled with inert gas.

                  However, it isn't foolproof and pre-cut salad is far riskier than fresh (wasn't this the cause of the Californian spinach salmonella problem?). Thus it could be argued that you would be wise to use a robust cleaning regime. Or simply use fresh not bagged.

              2. Neither. and I wash greens more regularly and thoroughly than most people I know.

                Assuming they're talking about the southern United States, this has nothing to do with cleanliness and everything to do with uncontrollable compulsions. I expect the author spends a lot more time combing the fringes on their area rugs and wiping, wiping, wiping down counters over and over and over than is necessary or healthy.

                You'd have to be pretty well-set financially, too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: EWSflash

                  Well set financially would mean hiring some one else to do the chore!

                2. Who writes this nonsense for these magazines? Diluted 3% peroxide at room temperature is not going to do anything to vegetative cells and after a week (as recomended) it will be all gone...nonsense....pure nonsense.
                  You have a far greater chance of contaminated the pre-packaged/pre-washed greens by washing them at home than actually removing any bugs (if even present) by washing.