The Natural Kitchen – 4 Simple Tips for a Healthy Kitchen
Making meals from natural foods begins with creating a healthy kitchen environment. Make sure your kitchen is clean and hygienic, has good air circulation, and is equipped with nontoxic cookware. There are a number of ways of preparing and safely storing natural foods so that they retain their freshness and their taste.
- Cleaning Berries and Leafy Greens
To clean soft or difficult to scrub fruits and vegetables such as grapes, broccoli, berries, or leafy greens, fill a basin with water and half a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Soak the produce for several minutes. Rinse thoroughly in several changes of water to remove all the soap. Before soaking leafy greens such as lettuce and cabbage, remove the outer leaves as they contain more chemical residues than the inner ones. Another great reason to do this, any extra little crawly bugs will get rinsed away instead of ending up on your dinner plant if you are pulling your own fresh fruits and vegetables from your own garden.
- Washing Greens
Dark leafy greens such as collards, kale, and spinach are some of the richest sources of health-protective antioxidants. Cleaning them can be difficult, however, because the crinkly leaves hold in to sand and grit. The only truly effective way to wash leafy greens is to immerse them in a large pot or sink of water. The leaves will float on the surface, but the sand and grit will sink to the bottom. Gently swish the greens in the water, and remove them. Repeat with a fresh pot of water as many times as necessary until there is no sand at the bottom of the pot or sink.
- Natural Vegetable Wash
Wash vegetables with a small amount of a mild, natural dishwashing liquid based on vegetable oil. Scrub with a bristled scrub brush and warm water. Rinse well. This will safely remove dirt, waxes, and some pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides commonly applied to conventional produce.
- Cellulose Sponges
To keep your vegetables fresh and crisp, place a couple of natural cellulose sponges in the vegetable bins in your refrigerator. These will keep the air dry by absorbing excess moisture caused by condensation. Also, try placing vegetables like chive onions and celery in a glass with a bit of water in the bottom. This water will absorb into the vegetables and keep them standing tall and fresh rather than go limp.