The idea of organic fruits and vegetables is appealing. Who doesn’t want the purest, cleanest, and most delicious food for their family? Yet, organic food often is more expensive than other produce and so it’s tough to know when to spend the extra dollars.
Help is here! Consumer groups and food scientists have examined the produce grown in the U.S. and elsewhere to determine which specimens are the most heavily saturated with pesticides and which are relatively free of them. Using their guidelines, we have assembled information about what to buy.
While recent evidence reveals that non-organic food is not dangerous, many of us like to feed our families organically when possible. Investing in organic fruits and vegetables makes good sense for the health of the planet, too, which is always a win-win.
If you can, buy organic peaches, pears, strawberries, raspberries, nectarines, cherries, apples, imported grapes, spinach, celery, winter squash, potatoes, and bell peppers.
These fruits and vegetables are on just about every list of foods with high saturations of pesticides. Most pesticides wash off, of course, but you may prefer to avoid them if at all possible.
The fruits and vegetables that rate high on the lists as having the lowest contamination from pesticides are corn, avocados, sweet peas, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, kiwi, mango, kiwi, papaya, bananas, and pineapples.
Certainly, you may want to buy these items as certified organic, but there are far fewer pesticides on them and so they are a good bet regardless of how they are labeled.
When You Buy….
Purchase fresh-looking fruits and vegetables. If they are grown near home, organic or not, all the better.
Locally grown produce most likely have been picked recently and have not been handled by a lot of middle men. Also, fruits and vegetables that do not have to travel long distances do not have to be grown in heavily treated soil that insures they “hold up” during the journey.
All fruits and vegetables, regardless of whether they are organic, should be washed before eating. Some experts estimate that as many as 20 people may have handled a lot of the produce that you put in your shopping cart.
Rinse off fruit and vegetables that need peeling before you peel them. Clean all other produce in cool, drinkable water. A good dunking will remove nearly all the pesticides. Double washing removes even more.
Special washes touted as being designed to rid the produce of chemicals are wastes of money. If you are diligent about washing everything in cool, clean water, you will be home free. Dishwashing liquid is not necessary, either.
Even produce that says it is “pre-washed” should be rinsed. This goes for lettuce mixes packed in plastic bags. A lettuce spinner makes this easy.
Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables are the least “processed” of all foods in the market. Plus, they are extremely good for us. Eat as many as you can — you won’t be sorry!