I grew up with a mom who wrapped everything in plastic like most people. All produce had to be in those thin plastic bags for fear, gasp, that maybe they would get contaminated with salmonella or leprosy between the bin and their trip to the crisper.
How ridiculous of me to actually believe that fruit and vegetables in the store's bin had magically appeared there without touching ANY OTHER SURFACE. It was my husband's brief stint working at Safeway while we lived in BC that opened my eyes to how I was being a bit ridiculous. As if all that produce hadn't already been handled by dozens of other hands, to be rearranged several times a day. I was deluding myself if I thought that they were 'germ' free prior to the moment I picked them up.
Andrew also pointed out that plastic doesn't allow produce to breathe (another little trick he learned as a produce guy) so it's not the best choice for storage, cloth would allow fruits and vegetables to stay fresher, longer in the fridge. So why was I still shoving even whole fruits and vegetables in plastic bags?
Soon after I purchased my first cloth produce bags- Lioli (love it or lose it) pogsacs. I was instantly in love. They are easy to clean, come in different sizes and I love that there are mesh and solid options, depending if I want bulk items like nuts. (Credo bags also have a fabulous selection, or you could make your own like my friend Jen did. Although not her site, DIY from Design Sponge).
They have never posed a problem, although weirdly I have had cashiers ask if they could look in the bags if I don't already have them open (Canadians, we're so polite!).
It has now progressed to when I forget the bags, I still don't use plastic. I mean, why would I need to group my apples together? Or my contain my carrots that are already bunched? They are all going to be thoroughly washed regardless of whether they are in a bag or not, and I'm fairly certain no one has bled, vomited or peed on the basket, cart or till rotating thingy. If they did, my wash would kill most of the germs that haven't already died from being exposed to oxygen for so long.
We are so paranoid about germs, sometimes I think it's ridiculous.
So the next time you're out grocery shopping- consider NOT wrapping your apples in a plastic bag. Just set them loosely in your cart and see what happens. When you get home, give them a good scrub, like you always would, and wonder at how the world didn't end- you didn't catch syphilis from that apple. Who knew?
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