Most of us have heard about the recent scare with spinach and e-coli. The markets have pulled it off their shelves and people were encouraged not to eat it or handle it.

In light of that news story, it seems an appropriate time to remind ourselves that produce should be washed before we use it, or store it.

We wash it for a few reasons. The first is to rid it of possible bacteria which like e-coli could make us very sick. The second is to rid it of pesticedes that it may have been sprayed with. Third is of course to wash the dirt and soil off, and finally, it has been handled by many people from the pickers to other customers in the store trying to select just the right ones.

A good solid rinse and rub with your hands does it in most cases, or there are washes you can buy to do the job. It is not recommended that you use regular soap because a lot of produce absorbs the soap, and the soap may break down the natural oils in the food.

Mushrooms are in a class on their own. There has been much debate about using a dry towel or water. While it's true that mushrooms will absorb some water, the amount is so small as to not be noticable and it does a better job than wiping with a dry paper towel.

You should be also rinsing fruits like lemons, even though you are going to peel them because when you cut into the skin you are dragging whatever is on the surface inside to the fruit.

I am not a food handling expert and I do believe that if something is working for you don't fix it or change it. So what ever your method is continue, and if you don't wash them, you need to start.