I grow vegetables and fruit in my backyard. Everything is grown organically so I don't have any concerns with pesticide or chemicals on my edible fruits and vegetables. However, they do get exposed to insects and other animals (squirrels). I am not sure if insects lay eggs on my leafy vegetables or some of them get eaten by caterpillars. Whatever the case may be, I would like to know what care I need to take prior to consuming these fruits and vegetables. I am growing leaf vegetables (lettuce, kale), root vegetables (beet, carrot), tomatoes, zuccinni, cucumbers, peppers, apple, pear, grapes, etc.

2 Answers 2


Just wash them all in clean tapwater - the hardest are the leafy greens, so the way to do that is immersion in a sink full of water, then picking out the leaves and running them directly under the tap, at the same time as inspecting for eggs and caterpillars. Then a salad spinner if you've got one, or just leave them to drain down in a colander. You may need a vegetable scrubbing brush for the carrots if you're not going to peel them before cooking.


If you subscribe to the hygiene hypothesis, then there's no need to wash anything.

If you're not keen on eating insects and eggs, then a good immersion in warm salty water removes insects, and inspection is needed to remove eggs. Insects are a good source of vitamin B12 for those who are strict vegetarians.

  • I am intrigued by hygiene hypothesis. Explains a lot of things. BTW, how do you deal with leafy vegetables that have been partially eaten by caterpillars or squirrels. Are they safe and edible. Same for apples, zucchini that has been bitten partially by squirrels
    – JStorage
    May 10, 2016 at 19:42
  • @JStorage we eat leaves that have been partially eaten by caterpillars. No squirrels or other rodents here that eat our veges but I guess I wouldn't want to share my plate with them! May 10, 2016 at 20:53
  • 4
    @JStorage I just cut off obviously damaged and/or decayed parts, and eat the rest. And I've survived 60+ years like that with no major medical problems so far! Follow basic common sense - if the parts that you intend to eat look OK, smell OK, and taste OK, they are unlikely to kill you.
    – alephzero
    May 11, 2016 at 1:58

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