In a perfect world we would only buy organic everything, but let"s face it, our trips to the grocery store just keep getting more and more expensive every year. Within the past 10 months I committed myself to changing my diet for the better. It"s not like I went from eating Ring Dings to Swordfish steaks, but I made the move away from processed foods and greatly increased my consumption of natural foods. I have yet to move to all organic and still my grocery bills seem like the doubled.
I found this very helpful list of which foods that are the most important to buy organic as opposed to other fruits and veggies that are "cleaner" and may not be as important to buy organic.
This" Dirty Dozen" list are the fruits and veggies that can contain the highest amount of pesticides and toxins.
The Dirty Dozen:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Blueberries (domestic)
This "Clean 15" List aren’t as heavily sprayed and therefore, don’t have to always be organic.
- Sweet Peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet Potatoes
So what do you do if you read that Dirty List and are freaking out because you simply can not afford to buy the organic options for all those items? You may be thinking, "Maybe I should stop eating those things all together." Wrong answer! There is a better option. If you do your due diligence and wash the items properly you should be OK. Here"s the best trick I've found for removing the pesticides.
Washing Fruit and Vegetables with Vinegar
Fill your sink with a solution that is one part vinegar to three parts water and soak all of your fruits in this solution for a minimum of 10 minutes and then rinse. This is great for removing bacteria, and may help break down wax, too. The editors of Cooks Illustrated magazine tested this theory by using four different methods to clean pears and apples: a vinegar and water solution (3:1, water:vinegar), antibacterial liquid soap, scrubbing with a stiff brush, and just using plain water. Not only did the vinegar mixture work the best, it was far, far better when measured for bacteria -- it removed 98% of bacteria, compared to just under 85% for scrubbing. If you don"t have 10 minutes to do this, or perhaps you just have a couple of pieces of fruit, a good alternative is to keep a bottle of vinegar with a spray top. Just spray the fruit or vegetables with the vinegar, then rinse under a tap.
See more about washing your fruits and veggies here.