Pesticides are one of those necessary evils in the world that make growing produce so much easier, but it comes at a price. Pesticides kill the insects and other vermin that might interfere with the growth process, and many of the most common fruits and vegetables are completely covered in multiple pesticides while they grow. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to completely remove these pesticides after they have been applied, but there are some methods that can be effective. Below are the twelve fruits and vegetables that everyone should always buy organic or pesticide-free, and they are commonly referred to as ‘The Dirty Dozen’.
It is fairly common knowledge that spinach must be grown with pesticides, but the majority of spinach in the store still has pesticides left even after they are washed before bagging. Organic spinach is a much better option.
An estimated 97 percent of all nectarines on store shelves test positive for at least one pesticide. That’s because nectarines attract all sorts of flying insects while they grow, so strong measures must be taken to ensure high yields. Organic nectarines are pricier, but they are worth it.
Approximately 300 pounds of pesticides are used with each single acre of strawberries, so they are always high on the list of fruits and veggies covered with the chemicals.
Even foods that have a skin can suffer from pesticide exposure, and it is possible for the pesticides to seep through the skin and into the fruit itself. Many pesticides are also taken in through the root system of a plant, so they literally can’t be washed off.
As with peaches and apples, it might be tempting to remove the peel from a pear before eating it to reduce the risk of pesticide ingestion, but it is much preferable to wash the fruit instead.
The peels on fruits like apples and pears include many antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients. Removing the peel in unadvised to reduce pesticide exposure. Instead, wash the fruit thoroughly before eating.
Celery is exceptionally easy to wash thanks to its smooth surface, but it is possible for the celery to absorb pesticides into its internal systems via the ends of the stalks. It’s better to go organic with celery.
Average grapes contain at least 15 different pesticides, so organic is the way to go.
Much like grapes, cherries are high in pesticides if they aren’t organic.
Despite growing underground, potatoes are covered in pesticides.
These have around 13 pesticides on average, but organic tomatoes are free of pesticides.
12. Sweet Bell Peppers
With more than 15 pesticides on average, bell peppers should certainly be bought organic.
One of the best at-home fruit and veggie washes you can use is pure white vinegar. Dilute a cup of vinegar in a large bowl or clean kitchen sink, then let your fruits and veggies soak for about an hour. Scrub them gently with a clean cloth when they come out of the solution, then rinse them with clean, cold water.