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Different organizations and advocacy groups who conducted random testing on different produce found alarmingly high amounts of pesticide residue in them. What’s scary about this is that you might be unknowingly serving your family with these pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 2017’s Dirty Dozen or the top twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticides in them are as follows:
11. Sweet bell peppers
*You can also check the full list of the 48 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue here.
Here are tips on how you can ensure you’re serving your family safe and pesticide-free produce:
Soaking your fruits and vegetables in a solution of four parts water and one part vinegar for at least 30 minutes before cold water washing and scrubbing is a great way to wash off pesticide residues. Besides removing traces of pesticides, soaking your produce in the vinegar solution can also keep them fresh for longer.
If you don’t have vinegar available, you can use lemon juice as substitute. But, make sure to wash the lemon before juicing.Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of baking soda to a cup of water. Then, spray it to your produce and let the solution set before cold water washing.
According to the Centre for Science and Environment, cold water washing is proven to remove 75-80% pesticide residues from food products. However, some fruits and vegetables may require two to three washings to ensure there are no pesticide residues left. The crevices must be washed and scrubbed thoroughly as well.
According to a study by The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the friction produced by scrubbing is the real key to remove pesticide residue. In scrubbing, you can either use your hands or a scrubbing brush to rub your fruits and vegetables back and forth for at least 30 seconds each.
For some vegetables, blanching has the same effect as cold water washing. By briefly immersing your vegetables into boiling water, certain pesticide residues can also be removed effectively. Right after immersing your vegetables in boiling water, make sure to plunge it into ice water right after to protect from being soggy.
After blanching is the best time to peel your produce. Because both contact and systemic pesticides most often appear on the surface of fruits and vegetables, they can be effectively removed by peeling. Trimming the tops of vegetables can also remove residues that settled there.
Although the above cleaning tips can reduce the pesticide residues in your fruits and vegetables, growing your own is still the safest bet to ensure a safe and organic produce. Growing an edible garden won’t only save you from the harmful side effects of pesticide residues, it can help you increase your savings as well.
Among the many edible plants you can grow in your kitchen or backyard are herbs (thyme, basil, parsley, spearmint, dill, tarragon, etc.), vegetables (beets, eggplant, artichokes, turnips, sweet pepper, peas, etc.), and fruits (tomatoes, watermelon, nectarines, strawberries, mulberry, etc.).
Consider the above tips the next time you prepare your meals for your family. Make sure you’re only serving your household with safe and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables.