There are many reasons to buy organic foods.
The USDA Organic label tells you that fruits and veggies weren’t raised using manmade chemical pesticides, fossil fuel- or sewage-based fertilizers or genetically modified seeds.
On meat, the label indicates that the feeds provided met those same standards, and that the animals weren’t administered hormones and antibiotics.
Some studies suggest that organic produce has more nutrients than its conventional counterparts, probably because the soil is left in better condition after repeated plantings; and healthier because you avoid ingesting any harmful pesticide residues left on conventional produce.
However,it can be hard to afford the often-premium price charged for organic foods.
Based on Environmental Working Group’s latest compilation of government data about pesticide residue, the following fruits and vegetables were the least likely to have pesticides detected on the parts you eat, after typical washing, whether or not they’re certified organic.
Don’t see as many pest threats, which means less pesticide spraying.
Choose: Look for onions that are firm, have a distinctive “oniony” smell that’s not overpowering, and show no visible signs of damage or soft spots. Store in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.
Have thick skins that protect the fruit from pesticide build-up.
Choose: Look for avocados that are still somewhat unripe and firm to the squeeze; they’ll ripen nicely on your kitchen counter in a couple of days. Store at room temperature. Although you’ll be using only the meat of the avocado, it’s always a good idea to rinse them before you slice them open
May take a lot of fertilizer to grow, but you’re unlikely to end up with any pesticides on the kernels.
Choose: Buy it fresh and local, and boil it that day for the best results
You won’t be eating the tough pineapple skin, which protects the fruit from pesticide residue.
Choose: Although tempting, this is one fruit that you won’t want to choose if it has a strong, sweet smell. This usually means that the pineapple is overripe and has even begun to ferment. Like all other fruits, avoid any that have soft spots, and in the case of pineapples, damage to the rind. Store in the refrigerator crisper.
Sweet mango flesh is protected by its thick skin from pesticides. Still, you’ll want to rinse under water before cutting open.
Choose: It should have a distinctive “fruity” smell. If there’s no ripe-fruit aroma, steer clear. Mangoes should be slightly firm but yield to your touch somewhat
Peel provides a barrier from pesticides. Give them a rinse before cutting.
Choose: Here’s where your nose plays an important part when choosing fresh fruit. Sniff out kiwis that smell good. They should be plump and yield to a squeeze like that of a ripe pear. Steer clear from those with moist areas on their surface or any skin bruising. If unripe kiwi are all that are available, simply take them home and place them in a paper bag at room temperature with other fruits that need more time, such as bananas or pears. Store in the refrigerator crisper.
Cabbage doesn’t hold on to so many pesticides because a ton of spraying isn’t required to grow it. What it does hold onto is beta carotene.
Choose: Look for cabbage heads whose leaves are tight and be sure the head is heavy for its type, and firm. For most cabbage varieties, you’ll want to make sure the outer leaves are shiny and crisp. Avoid any with leaves that show signs of yellowing. Bok choy should have deep green leaves with their stems a crisp-looking white. Discard the outer leaves of a cabbage before using. You can wash and spin most cabbage leaves just like you do salad greens.
Maybe it’s the thick skin, but eggplants are among the least likely to be contaminated by pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Choose: Look for firm and glossy eggplants to know they’re ripe and undamaged. Because they grow to various sizes, choose one proportionate to the dish you’re preparing.
Not only are sweet potatoes unlikely to be contaminated with pesticides, they’re also a superfood, packed with Vitamin A and beta carotene.
Choose: It’s hard to go wrong choosing a hardy sweet potato. Just make sure it isn’t beaten up or rotting, and choose a size that matches the meal you’re preparing.