What's the Best Way to Wash Fruits and Vegetables?

What's the Best Way to Wash Fruits and Vegetables?

Pesticides are bad news for your produce. They make fruits and vegetables taste nasty, throw off the balance of good bacteria in our gut flora that help us digest food properly (you know who you are), and can cause cancerous cells if ingested over long periods time- indeed they're likely carcinogens themselves! The best way to get rid of ol' school pesticides? Go organic or  wash them away. 

You can wash your fruit and veggies in water, rub with a cloth, or soak in a cleaning solution like bleach or baking soda, but what really works?

At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in a study led by Lili He, researchers sprayed apples with thiabendazole, a fungicide  as well as phosmet, an insecticide.  They then tested various ways to wash them, using plain water, a bleach solution and a baking soda solution.

When submerged for 2 minutes, the baking soda solution (1 tablespoon mixed with 2 cups of water) proved more effective than the bleach solution or 2 minutes of rinsing under plain water.  

Unfortunately, there are many more pesticides in use in our food production and the best way to remove these chemicals is to peel off the outer layer of our produce.  However, this is not always possible, such as with berries or mushrooms, and also greatly reduces our fiber and nutrient intake.  The other option is  to eat organic.

Where organic is not an option, you can also use a veggie brush with soft bristles to clean fruits and veggies with a harder exterior skin like potatoes, pumpkins, squash and carrots.  

If buying many organic foods isn't affordable or feasible for you, then a good strategy may be to buy organic versions of only the produce that ranks among the most contaminated.  Read below to see the 12 fruits and vegetables that the EWG (Environmental Working Group) recommends that you buy organic, beginning with the most contaminated food.

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale, Collards and Mustard Greens
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Bell Peppers
  • Celery 
  • Tomatoes




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