As the standard consciousness shifts into the “Green Era”, our focus turns towards removing pesticides, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), and other unwanted chemicals from our diets by choosing organic and GMO-free options whenever possible. However, whether your produce is organic or not, it still needs a good wash before it is ready to be consumed. (PLEASE NOTE: Not all pesticides can be removed from washing, they are grown into the fruit/vegetable.)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture looked at produce samples and found that 65% of the tested samples were positive for pesticides.
Pesticides have been linked to various chronic health conditions, learning disabilities and even cancer.
As consumers, we do not have any control on the pesticides that is sprayed on fruits and vegetables in the farms but there are some quick do-it-yourself techniques that can help us get rid of the residues to a large extent.
The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), released the Dietary Guidelines for India recently. The guidelines has introduced some simple steps which should be adopted by every household to remove the pesticide residual contamination. These easy steps should be cast in stone in every household.
- The first step in the removal of pesticide residues from the food products is washing. Washing with 2% of salt water will remove most of the contact pesticide residues that normally appear on the surface of the vegetables and fruits.
- About 75-80% of pesticide reduces are removed by cold water washing. The pesticide residues that are on the surface of fruits like grapes, apples, guava, plums, mangoes, peaches and pears and fruity vegetables like tomatoes, brinjal and okra require two to three washings.
- The green leafy vegetables must be washed thoroughly. The pesticide residues from green leafy vegetables are removed satisfactorily by normal processing such as washing blanching and cooking.
Fill up a large bowl or your kitchen sink (pre-cleaned, of course!) with 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water. Let your fruits/vegetables soak in this mixture for up to an hour (non-organic apples can soak for an additional 30 minutes to an hour). Remove the produce from the mixture, give them another quick rinse with water, and they are ready to eat!
Take a peek at the leftover “soaking water” after this process – you should be able to see all of the gunk that came off the produce! This mixture also helps to extend the life of your fruits and vegetables so that they last longer without spoiling.
This pesticide-removing natural spray is super simple to make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen!
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 cup water
Mix these ingredients until the baking soda has dissolved, and pour into a clean spray bottle. Spritz the mixture onto your fruits and vegetables, and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse the mixture off, and enjoy your produce!
A short treatment in hot water or steam applied to most of the vegetables. Certain pesticide residues can effectively be removed by blanching. But before blanching, it is very important to thoroughly pre-wash the vegetables and fruits.