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January 30, 2007

Helpful Hints from joeeze: What's the best way to remove wax from fresh fruits and vegetables?


The peerless investigators in the Cooks Illustrated test kitchen decided to settle this question once and for all.

The results appear in the latest (March, 2007) issue, in the "Notes From Readers" section; they follow.

Q. What's the Best Way to Remove Wax from Vegetables?

A. Our local supermarket carries a product called Veggie Wash, which purports to be significantly more effective at removing wax, soil, and chemicals from fruits and vegetables than rinsing with water alone. It contains water, corn and coconut derivatives, citrus oil, sodium citrate, glycerin, and grapefruit seed extract. Firm produce like cucumbers, apples, and oranges is to be sprayed with Veggie Wash, rubbed for 30 seconds, and then rinsed with water.

To find out just how effective this product is at removing surface residue, we peeled the waxiest cucumbers we could find. Then we weighed the strips of peel individually before cleaning them four different ways (repeated 10 times per method): under cold running water; hot running water; sprayed and rubbed with distilled white vinegar, followed by a cold-water rinse; and sprayed and rubbed with Veggie Wash, followed by a cold-water rinse. We also wiped down a set of cucumber peels with nail polish remover (a strong solvent) to use as a control by which to gauge the other methods.

We weighed the cucumber peels again after washing and averaged the weight-loss results of the 10 tests. Of the food-safe methods, the Veggie Wash removed the most wax, with the peels averaging a weight loss of 7 percent post-washing. (The peels wiped with nail polish remover registered a 12.8 percent difference.) With a 6.3 percent difference, the vinegar-rubbed sample was a very close second, followed by the hot-water rinse (5.4 percent) and cold-water rinse (4.9 percent). While the 16-ounce bottle of Veggie Wash did produce a noticeably less-waxy surface, we don't think it's worth its $5.95 price tag. A spray bottle filled with vinegar works nearly as well at a fraction of the cost.

January 30, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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