Cabbage Adulteration Clip Goes Viral; 5 Ways To Remove Chemicals

Cases of food adulteration are on the rise and more and more cases are being highlighted every week. In the last few days, several reports and videos have emerged which show fruits, vegetables, pulses and spices being adulterated or blended with toxic ingredients before being sold in the markets. Recently a video posted on Instagram by food expert Anjum Yasmin showed a truck full of cabbages being covered in a white powder, to increase their longevity.

Harsh chemicals or toxins are often used on produce and pulses to make them appear fresh or to preserve their freshness; these chemicals can cause several health issues ncluding heart issues and can also lead to cancer. A good way to buy your everyday veggies is to opt for locally-grown produce or by visiting neighbourhood farms. Organic cabbage is typically cultivated without synthetic pesticides or herbicides, reducing the risk of chemical contamination. 

Locally grown cabbage from small-scale farmers may be less likely to contain high levels of chemical residues compared to commercially produced varieties. When purchasing cabbage, look for organic certification or buy directly from farmers' markets or local growers who follow sustainable and organic farming practices. Here are some effective hacks to clean cabbages and remove chemicals from them at home.

Washing with Vinegar Solution

One of the simplest and most effective ways to remove chemicals from cabbage is by washing it with a vinegar solution. Vinegar, particularly white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, is known for its ability to break down pesticide residues and other contaminants. To use this method, fill a large bowl or sink with water and add about one part vinegar to three parts water. Submerge the cabbage in the solution and agitate it gently to ensure thorough coverage. Allow the cabbage to soak for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it thoroughly with clean water.

Soaking in Baking Soda Solution

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is another natural substance that can help remove chemical residues from cabbage. Create a solution by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with one liter of water. Submerge the cabbage in the solution and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. Baking soda works by breaking down pesticide molecules, making them easier to rinse away. After soaking, rinse the cabbage thoroughly under running water to remove any remaining residue and baking soda.

Using Salt Water Wash

Salt water is a traditional method for cleaning vegetables and can also help remove chemicals from cabbage. Create a saline solution by dissolving two tablespoons of salt in one litre of water. Immerse the cabbage in the salt water and let it soak for at least 20 minutes. The salt helps to draw out impurities and residues from the cabbage leaves. After soaking, rinse the cabbage thoroughly with clean water to remove the salt and any remaining contaminants.

Blanching in Boiling Water

Blanching cabbage in boiling water is an effective way to remove surface chemicals and contaminants. Bring a pot of water to a boil and carefully submerge the cabbage leaves for 1-2 minutes. Blanching not only helps remove chemical residues but also kills bacteria and removes any dirt or debris clinging to the leaves. After blanching, transfer the cabbage to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, remove the cabbage from the water and pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Peeling Outer Leaves

Another simple method to reduce chemical exposure from cabbage is to peel off the outer leaves. Outer leaves are more likely to have been exposed to pesticides and other chemicals during cultivation. Remove and discard the outermost layers of the cabbage until you reach the fresher, inner leaves. While this method may not eliminate all residues, it can significantly reduce exposure, especially if combined with other cleaning methods such as washing or blanching.