SOS Mom Saver: Reduce Pesticide Exposure When Buying Non-Organic Foods

Last week, the new Dirty/Clean List came out for produce.  I love that guide because it helps me decide where it's worth it for me to spend more money on organic produce.

I remember what it was like in the "good ole days", though when we couldn't afford ANY organic produce; regardless of how "dirty" the produce we were buying may have been.  However, I also shopped as wisely as I could for that non-organic produce in attempt to limit my family's exposure to harmful chemicals.  I also diligently processed the produce to further reduce exposure.

Here's what you can do to limit your family's exposure to chemicals if you can't buy organic:
  • Soak your fruits & veggies in vinegar.  This will help remove much of the chemical residue.
  • If you can peel it, then do!  Taking the outer layer off of produce such as apples & peaches will help remove a HUGE chunk of the pesticide residue that sits on top of the produce.
  • Buy frozen!  That's a HUGE one!  With the exception of green beans, domestic blueberries, and some squashes, produce that is frozen has significantly less pesticide residue largely because they don't require as much chemicals when they're being grown.  You don't need plump, juicy strawberries that will stay that way for weeks when you're freezing the produce immediately or shortly after harvest.
  • The same goes for canned produce, but the canning process also removes a LOT of the nutrients...and adds a whole OTHER worry with the chemicals in the can itself (unless it's canned in a glass container).  If you're going to choose a processed food, frozen is ALWAYS better!
  • Buy local and ask what they use and WHEN.  This can be key!  There are some local producers who will spray fungicides just before or after planting and will spray while the produce is sprouting, but won't spray from around 3 weeks before fruiting until harvest or from fruiting until harvest.  This produce will still have some chemicals, but it will have less than traditionally and mass-farmed produce.
We are now able to buy organic for the "dirty dozen" items most of the time.  We still employ many of these methods, though, when we purchase non-organic produce...even those on the "clean dozen" list.

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