Hydrogen peroxide may be familiar to you as a wound cleaner, hair bleach or mouth rinse, but it's not as commonly used to clean off fresh fruits and vegetables. When used appropriately, hydrogen peroxide can possibly kill E. coli, listeria and salmonella bacteria -- all food-borne pathogens that cause food poisoning. The peroxide also helps remove extra dirt and pesticides.
Fill two spray bottles. One gets plain white vinegar and the other 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, readily found at any drug store.
Lightly spray the vegetables or fruit with the vinegar, and then with the hydrogen peroxide.
Rinse the produce completely in running water after using the solutions. Serve raw or use in a recipe.
This order of solution can also disinfect a countertop surface. After using the hydrogen peroxide, do not rinse and allow the surface to air dry.
Note that if you rinse thoroughly enough, no lingering vinegar or peroxide flavor remains. Also, if any tiny amounts of hydrogen peroxide remain on the produce, it's not toxic. You can also use the sprays on raw meat and poultry to kill foodborne pathogens.
Alternate Soaking Method
If you don't want to use a spray bottle or have small pieces of produce, such as broccoli florets, soak them, fully submerged, in a bowl of hydrogen peroxide for about 5 minutes instead. Rinse with cool water and pat dry before serving or using in a recipe. For berries, use a solution that is half water and half hydrogen peroxide and soak for about 3 minutes. Rinse and dry the berries, but serve them immediately as washed berries accumulate mold quickly.