How to Reduce Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables
Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are usually sprayed with pesticides to kill or repel harmful organisms that may be attracted to the plant. It is unclear whether the pesticide residue that remains in fruits and vegetables may contribute to a deterioration of health. To completely avoid pesticides, the best option is to buy organic certified produce, but these are usually sold at a much higher price not everyone can afford.
In this OneHowTo article we will explain how to reduce pesticides in fruits and vegetables if you must buy conventional fruits and veggies.
Fruits and vegetables are recommended as part of a healthy eating plate and should constitute the bulk of your diet. While the use of pesticides in agriculture faces some harsh criticism, the fact is that eating some fruits and vegetables is much better than eating none.
If you don’t have access to organic fruits and vegetables, you may still buy conventionally grown produce and follow these steps to reduce the pesticide residue that may be present in the food.
For leafy vegetables we suggest that you remove the outer layers. These include lettuce heads, cabbage and red cabbage among others. By eliminating these outer layers you are also getting rid or leaves that may be bruised or may have been exposed to other contaminants during the transportation process.
Then remove the leaves one by one and clean them under cold clean water or leave them soaking to have them ready for quick lunches during the week.
We suggest that you clean and disinfect all your fruits and vegetables right after purchase as it will reduce overall cooking time during the week. You can quickly clean them under running water or prepare a bath where they are soaked with a squirt of vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar will help kill any harmful pathogen in a much cleaner and safer way.
Once you are done cleaning your fruits and vegetables, rub them dry with a clean cloth and store them in a plastic bag wrapped in a paper towel to help prevent it turning bad. When you are about to cook or consume your produce clean it quickly one more time.
For tubers make sure that you clean them and brush them with pressure to get into any creases. For these you may want to peel your vegetables to help reduce the pesticides that may have been sprayed onto the plant. While it is recommended to eat the peel for the amount of vitamins and minerals present, peeling is one of the best options to reduce pesticides exposure.
Finally, you may want to quickly blanch or boil your vegetables for a few minutes before eating or storing them. The boiling process will help remove pesticide residue so make sure to discard the water.
We also recommend that you follow the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists. This organization has listed the fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest percentage of pesticides. When you are at the store you may try buying organic those that may have more pesticides and stick to conventional for the safer options.
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