So you’ve just gotten back from the grocery store with your bounty. You’ve picked up plenty of fruits and vegetables so you can make healthy meals and snacks for the upcoming week. That’s great!
But what about those nasty pesticides that could be lurking over that tasty, ripe tomato that you’re ready to chop and eat? Unless you’ve bought an organic variety, the produce that you buy has been sprayed with a variety of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
Without getting into a debate as to whether you should be buying organic or not, knowing that growers are using these chemicals on the food that you’re going to be eating allows you to deal with the produce that purchased.
There are certainly lots of reasons to buy organic produce but we’ll save that discussion for another day. Frankly, organic produce can drastically increase the total on your grocery bill and it always feels like the bill is big enough as it is, especially if you’re buying for a family with growing children.
You can take steps to wash off most of these chemicals before you eat them with a pretty simple trick. As an added bonus, you’ll be removing other bacteria that could be on your produce while you’re at it.
Fill your sink with 4 parts water (cold water is fine) to 1 part white vinegar and put your produce in the water for about 15 minutes to soak and remove any pesticide residue. Rinse and voila!
This works for both fruits and vegetables and it’s best done right when you get home from the grocery store, soaking while you’re putting away the rest of the food. This way, no matter who’s going into the fridge, the produce will be washed and ready to eat. ‘Cause we all know when your kid is grabbing an apple to eat, he’s probably not even going to rinse it, let alone even think about the pesticides that might be on it before taking that first bite.
There are other methods too using a salt water solution or lemon, but personally I find the vinegar is effective, doesn’t leave any after-taste and big jugs of white vinegar are inexpensive to buy. Vinegar also comes in handy for quite a few household uses besides a pesticide soak.
If you’re really concerned about pesticides on your produce check out the the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. These two lists show which produce usually have the most pesticide residue and which typically have the least. Some of the items on each list may surprise you. You can then decide if you want to buy organic in these instances and which fruits and vegetables are perfectly fine grown conventionally (though there are environmental considerations here too, though we all have limits to our budgets!).