Eating organic produce is a personal choice. Certified organically grown fruits and vegetables are those that have been grown without the use of synthetic chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. If you are concerned about your own health and that of the planet, then eating clean, sustainably grown produce is a good plan.
Each year the Environmental Working Group analyzes food and wine to determine which of the conventionally grown and sourced products are “dirty” with pesticide residues. Here are 5 of the offending produce options that seem to top the list. These are best purchased organic.
Conventionally grown potatoes sometimes have residues of up to 36 pesticides on them. The chemicals are on the leaves, and in the actual root itself. Not only do they absorb chemicals through the leaves, but potato roots absorb chemicals from fertilizers in the ground. Some of these chemicals are used intentionally to prevent eyes from sprouting.
Potatoes are one of the vegetables that you should buy in organic form. Potatoes are a great source of potassium. If you eat organic potatoes you can eat them with the skin left on. A great way to eat potatoes is to cut them into 1” chunks, with the skin intact, and roast them in a hot oven with olive oil and seasoning until the flesh is creamy and the skin is crispy.
Apples can have up to 45 pesticides used on them to prevent fungus and deter insects from burrowing into them. The skin is especially vulnerable. Yet, much of the fiber and other nutritional value of the apple is in the skin.
Oganically grown apples may not be the prettiest of fruits, but they are considerably tastier and healthier. You can safely eat an organic apple picked right off the tree. Apples are a good source of quercetin, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health and for seasonal allergies.
Cabbage worms can completely eat through collard leaves, decimating the crop. To prevent this, farmers will heavily spray the leaves throughout the growing season. It is possible to control these pests with something like a cayenne pepper spray. You should only buy organic collards.
Collard greens are high in dietary fiber and a good source of calcium and are wonderful when braised. The potlikker from the braised greens is a vitamin rich staple in the southern USA. Leah Chase’s classic recipe includes fatback. If you are making one of your vegan nutrition meals, leave the fatback out and maybe substitute a little liquid smoke.
Strawberries seem to make the list of pesticide laden foods every year. It is a shame, because these berries are so delicious and nutritious eaten fresh off the plant. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. You can serve organic strawberries with a bowl of honey and a bowl of vanilla infused yogurt. Dip a berry in the honey, then the yogurt, and eat.
Celery sometimes harbors up to 60 pesticide residues. That is pretty high. It is fairly easy to find organic celery. It is a hardy perennial that can stand up to insects and harsh weather.
Organic celery is a wonderful source of insoluble dietary fiber. You can eat it raw or cooked and it has a great crunchy texture that goes well in chopped salads. The stalks and leaves are both edible. Here is a simple vegan celery and raisin salad from The Spruce.
It’s pretty simple. Pesticides are not good for you. If you have the option to purchase organic produce over conventionally grown produce, do it. It will cost a little bit more, but your health and that of the earth are worth it.
About the Author
Mia Morales is a loving wife and mother of twins from Colorado. She is a self-described “DIY addict,” and loves to decorate her house and office with her creations. As a mother, Mia is really passionate about heath, nutrition, and what she puts in her body. When she’s not writing, you can find her with a glass of mint lemon water and a child on each hip. Who says moms aren’t superheroes?