You might sometimes become a bit confused when shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables. I know I can be. Do I need to buy everything organic? Can I really afford it? What is the safest choice?
Furthermore, the organic option is not always available. There are a few things that I always buy organic: carrots, celery, apples and garlic. The main reason is that I eat those practically every day in one form or the other: raw, cooked, peeled, unpeeled. Also good garlic is hard to find, and the slightly better one is organic. Generally the garlic sold in shops comes from China and is old and malodourous.
The Environmental Working Group has drawn a very useful list, which identifies the fruit and vegetables most exposed to pesticides in traditional farming, also sometimes known as the Dirty Dozen. On the other side of the spectrum you will find the clean dozen, the least likely contaminated.
This is a good indicator of which fruits and vegetables to buy organic and which traditionally farmed products are safer to buy as such.
THE DIRTY DOZEN
- Sweet Bell Peppers
THE CLEAN DOZEN
- Sweet Corn (Frozen)
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
One simple rule you could apply, and it’s quite common sense, is thick skin versus thin skin. The thinner the skin of fruits and vegetables the more vulnerable they are to pesticides. It’s not as clear-cut as this when you look at the full list, but it is definitely a factor that can help you in your choices.
Moreover, apples, carrots, and celery do taste so much better when they are organic!