A veggie Valentine

Valentine poems serve many purposes. They can send loving messages or bring a smile or laugh. This veggie Valentine poem hopefully brings a smile and if you keep reading, there are five tips on fruits and veggies.

Valentine poems are often serious and loving. Others are silly and funny. Following is a Valentine poem that is on the silly and funny side.

“You may not “carrot” all for me the way I care for you.

You may “turnip” you nose when I plead with you.

But if your heart should “beet” with mine forever “lettuce” hope,

There is no reason in the world why we two “cantaloupe.”

Michigan State University Extension has five food safety tips to go with this veggie Valentine poem.

  1. Before eating or preparing fresh fruits and veggies rinse them under cool to luke-warm running water to remove any lingering soil. This reduces bacteria that may be present. If there is a firm surface, such as on apples or potatoes, the surface can be scrubbed with a brush. Don’t add bleach to the water. You should not sanitize your food; just make sure it is clean using plain water.
  2. You should not wash fruits and vegetables with detergent or soap. These products are not approved or labeled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on foods. You could ingest residues from soap or detergent absorbed by the produce.
  3. Bacteria can thrive in damaged or bruised areas of fruits and veggies, so when cleaning them, cut away any damaged or bruised areas. Immediately refrigerate any fresh cut items such as salad or fruit for best quality and food safety.
  4. Using a clean cloth or paper towel to blot dry, fresh fruits and vegetables after rinsing is more important than you might realize. Research has found this drying step further reduces the level of harmful bacteria on the surface of fresh produce. Take a two step approach to cleaning your produce:
  • Just before use, rinse only the fruits and veggies that you plan to eat.
  • Dry fruits and veggies with a paper towel or clean cloth. When you are done drying the produce throw the paper towel away or if you used a clean cloth, put the cloth in the laundry.
  1. Rinse produce that has a rind, such as melons. It is possible for dirt and bacteria on the rind to contaminate the flesh inside. A knife or peeler passing through the rind can carry pathogens from the outside into the flesh of the produce. The rind also touches the edible part when cut produce is arranged or stacked for serving and garnish.

When preparing a meal on this special day or any day, keep food safety in mind. It doesn’t take much effort to do the food safety tips listed above, but the return is overwhelming – serving nutritious, tasty and safe food.

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