If offers us the opportunity to learn - through advice from our peers, through our own research, through experience and why not say, through mistakes - ours or someone else's - while facing similar situations.
A common concern among families living at hardship posts is 'how to offer the best, healthiest diet to my family?'- and that includes not only how to "optimize" your grocery shopping budget, but how to ensure those beautiful fruits and veggies will be safe for consumption, even before they're tossed in the fridge, or beautifully displayed on a fruit bowl!
After that, they should be rinsed with potable water [got a distiller? that will do it!], and allowed to air dry, before storing the vegetables in your fridge, or leaving them at the kitchen countertop.
I'm sure that many are probably asking: "can I find it at my local supermarket?" or, "how do I make that solution at home?"
Simple answer: One tablespoon of Clorox [or similar] per gallon of water. For the Spanish-speaking Latino world, everyone knows it as 'lavandina', and it's become one of my best friends here!
One last note that many tend to forget: boxed/bagged [fresh or long life] milk, juices, chocolate milk and similar products loved by our kids, should also be washed/wiped with paper towel/sanitizing wipe before being stored in your pantry and/or fridge.
One quick stop at the kitchen sink for a wash after unloading your grocery bag will save you from a headache in the future, especially if you've got kids who just walk into the pantry/fridge in search of a box/bag of juice/chocolate milk for their mid-afternoon snack! [I know what I've got at home, so, trust me on this one!]. A final consideration, since I'm a mom of 3 little kids, and budget is a pretty important part of my 'household management duties', and La Paz is our third hardship post [we've previously been assigned to Mozambique and Northern Brazil]:
Want to use a fruit and vegetable wash, but for some reason [price or availability in the market], doesn't want to go for the commercial sanitary solution? What about making one, for almost no cost?
You will need:
· White vinegar
· Potable Water
· A spray bottle
For hard-skinned fruits and vegetables:
1. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water.
2. Then, spray the solution onto your fruits and vegetables; rub it in; and rinse with potable water.
For soft-skinned fruits and vegetables:
1. Fill a bowl with equal parts white vinegar and water.
2. Then, soak your fruits and vegetables in the solution for a minute or two, and rinse with potable water.
If you've got any questions, suggestions, experiences to share on this subject, please share here! Raising kids while moving around is never an easy task, and we need all the support we may get... Thank you!
Raquel Miranda is an EFM, currently posted with her family in La Paz, Bolivia. The family has a blog, http://3rdculturechildren.com.