The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen
Your mother probably told you to eat your fruits and vegetables. She was right. Well, it's not that easy anymore. Much of our produce is now sprayed with chemicals. In order to avoid this dilemma, I try to buy organic. However, it's not only impossible sometimes, but it can also be out of your budget.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out two lists they call the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. Items on the list vary from year to year based on farming practices. The Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue. The Clean Fifteen are the 15 fruits and vegetables with the least amount of pesticide residue.
I will spend the extra money to buy organic produce for items listed on the Dirty Dozen and I'll buy conventional for the items on the Clean Fifteen list. Sometimes I will buy conventional of items on the Dirty Dozen list, but only produce that I can soak in white vinegar. I have also made a safe non-toxic spray from lemon essential oils and purified water.
The list changes from year to year, so check out their website and find out the cleanest and dirties fruits and vegetables each year.
These are dirties items commonly on the list.
Sweet bell peppers
Cherry tomatoes Potatoes Cherries
Collard and mustard greens
Cauliflower & broccoli
These items are usually the cleanest with fewer pesticides and chemicals. Avocados Sweet corn Pineapples Cabbage Sweet peas Onions Asparagus Mangoes Papayas Kiwi Eggplant Sweet potatoes Grapefruit Cantaloupe Cauliflower
Make a list of the items you and your family like the most and decide the ones you'll pay more for and buy organic if you can. Get to know your local famers and find out what fertilizers they're using on their produce.
Keep in mind that many small growers can't afford to get their farms certified organic. They may not use harsh chemicals, so they would be a great option. Just do your due diligence.