The Hospitality Guru (cooking) Back to Basics: Washing & Cleaning of Vegetables


Washing, cleaning, trimming & cutting fruit and vegetables is a common  task in the kitchen and will often take up a large part of your daily routine.  A wide variety of fruit and vegetables is available for use in the kitchen and knowing how to prepare them correctly is important.  Although one of the main goals in learning to cut is speed, you are advised to start slowly and pay attention to accuracy and uniformity in cutting.


Most vegetables are grown either under the ground or just above the surface, so special attention to washing and cleaning is important to make sure all dirt, sand, insects, insecticides and other chemicals are removed.

The following procedures are used for washing and cleaning vegetables.

  • Wash all vegetables thoroughly in cold water.
  • Green leafy vegetables, for example spinach, lettuce, silverbeet and kale must be washed several times to make sure any insects or dirt clinging to the leaves are removed.
  • Root vegetables that are not peeled such as potatoes used for baking, must be scrubbed well with a stiff brush under cold running water.
  • Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli may be soaked in salted water for about 30 minutes to kill any insects that may be present.
  • Leeks need special washing to remove dirt, which remains between the layers. After cutting leeks lengthwise, hold them under cold running water, separating the layers to remove dirt.
  • Celery needs to be washed well. Pay particular attention to the insides of the stalks, which often needs vigorous washing to remove clinging dirt.

After washing make sure all vegetables are drained well.

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