How to Remove Pesticides from Fruits and Vegetables

It is important to clean your fruits thoroughly to remove harmful chemicals that may cause adverse effects in our body. Using pesticides to grow crops is somewhat inevitable. Pesticides are used to control pests and disease-carriers and also to control insect infestations and weeds. Organic produce are always considered as the better choice in choosing fruits and vegetables to eat. However, some organic farmers still use pesticides. In their case, they use a different kind of pesticide to control weeds, and pests. 

Rinsing, rubbing, or scrubbing isn’t enough to remove pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables. The solutions stated below are organic and cheap and easy to do at home.

How do you clean fruits and vegetables naturally?

There are different ways to wash fruits and vegetables naturally. The most common method is rinsing and rubbing the crops with tap water. According to the CSE, almost 70-80% of pesticide residues can be removed using this method. Another method is soaking the produce on a baking soda solution. 

Another solution is using a saltwater solution. According to the study published in Food Control, the10% saltwater solution is the most effective. The researchers conducted an experiment to test which among methods is the most effective in eliminating the residue of the four common pesticides. They washed the vegetables for 20 minutes in vinegar, a saltwater solution, and plain water. Full-strength vinegar is equally effective as using the saltwater solution. 

Wash your hands before rinsing the fruits and vegetables to avoid infesting the crops with harmful microbes.

Is it safe to wash fruits with baking soda?

Yes, it is. According to most experts, baking soda is the best method to remove pesticides. Just keep in mind that you should rinse the vegetables or fruit after soaking and pat it dry with a dry towel.

Does baking soda remove pesticides?

A recent study at University of Massachusetts found that soaking your fruits and vegetables in a solution of baking soda and water can remove pesticides in them. 

However, baking soda, or any other method, cannot completely remove pesticides in certain circumstances. The effectiveness of the solution varies depending on the type of pesticides and when it is applied. The longer they sit on the fruit or vegetables, the deeper they are absorbed, and the harder they are to remove. Baking soda can remove pesticides in fruits and vegetables by 80-90%. According to some experts, avoid washing berries and other soft fruits and vegetables as it will cause the produce to get too soggy. 

How much baking soda does it take to remove pesticides?

There are several tips on how much baking soda does it take to remove a significant amount of pesticides in the produce. Most experts suggest to mix one teaspoon of baking soda in two cups of water and soak it for 15 minutes. However, this may not be the ideal and the most practical time for daily wash. Most people wash their fruits and vegetables for no longer than two minutes. It is still advisable to soak them for two minutes, though soaking them for a longer time can remove a significant amount of pesticides.

Can vinegar remove pesticides from vegetables?

Yes. According to a study published in Food Control, vinegar can effectively remove pesticides but can also affect the taste of the produce. However, using vinegar to wash your fruits and vegetables can be quite expensive which makes it a less ideal daily vegetable wash. If you wish to try this natural fruit and vegetable wash, mix10 percent white vinegar with 90 percent of water and soak your fruits and vegetables for two minutes or more.

Does cooking kill pesticides?

In cases of animal products, cooking can increase the levels of pesticides that build up in the fat of fishes and chicken and can’t wash off. The same with vegetables. Relying merely on cooking the vegetables without rinsing them would unsuccessfully remove the pesticide residues. Breaking down pesticide molecules require prolonged exposure in temperatures over 100ºC. 

Does lemon juice remove pesticides?

Lemon juice solution can remove germs, bacteria, and parasites. This is also an effective way to remove pesticides.  One tablespoon of lemon juice will do the trick. You have to mix the lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of plain water. Spray the solution to the fruits and vegetables and let it sit for about five minutes and rinse them thoroughly.

What is the best way to wash fruits and vegetables?

There are several methods to wash fruits and vegetables. This sparks debate among experts whether using a baking soda solution, a vinegar, or peeling is the best way to wash fruits and vegetables. Rinsing fruits and vegetables before consumption is important to remove dirt and to protect yourself from getting foodborne diseases. Experts also suggest that you only have to rinse fruits and vegetables before eating it, instead of washing them as soon as they are bought. Rinsing and storing fruits and vegetables creates moisture which can spoil the produce and it also increases the risk of bacteria to infest the produce.  Avoid washing your fruits and vegetables with hot water as it allows microogranisms to penetrate the stem or blossom end of the produce.

According to several studies, the best way to wash fruits and vegetables is using baking soda solution as it removes significant amount of pesticides in the produce. Methods such as using a vinegar solution or salt solution can also be effective but the baking soda solution tops it all. 

Experts do not recommend using veggie washes since there is little to no significant amount of difference between just rinsing the produce with tp water and those veggie washes. It is just a waste of money.

Which fruits have pesticides?

Most fruits have pesticides but according to the Dirty Dozen list for 2019, strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes have the most pesticides. In addition, the study had shown that more than 90 percent of samples of the mentioned produce are positive for residues of two or more pesticides. Also, multiple samples of kale showed 18 different pesticides present in the produce. Some experts suggest buying organic produce but keep in mind that it does not necessarily mean that they are pesticide-free. Pesticides are important in keeping pests away from the produce. 

According to the Environmental Working Group, 70 percent of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables contain up to 230 different pesticides. 

What fruits has the least pesticides?

According the list of EWG, the fruits with the least pesticides are avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, papayas, mangoes, and kiwis. Most of these fruits have thick skin which explains why they have the least pesticide residues. Most of the fruits listed had been found to have little or no detectable pesticide residues. 

Which fruit has the most pesticides?

According to the dirty Dozen list of 2019, strawberries top the list as the fruit with the most pesticides. The Dirty Dozen list is made by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that ranks fruits and vegetables from most to least likely to have pesticide residue. 

It is important to take note of these fruits with the most pesticides and avoid buying them regularly to reduce your risk of pesticide exposure. Accordingly, it is better to choose organic food when possible especially for food with the highest amount of pesticides like strawberries and wash them before eating them.

Strawberries have the highest amount of pesticides. One sample of strawberry contains 20 different pesticides. In the 2018 lust strawberries also topped the list with the most pesticides which means little was done to change the method on growing this fruit. 

How do you remove pesticides from apples?

Apples are already washed and rinsed before they are sold in stores. The bleach solution that is used to wash the apples is not intended to remove pesticides but to remove dirt and kill harmful microbes. Rinsing apples in tap water isn’t as effective as we believe to be so. The researchers conducted an experiment to compare if the baking soda and water solution is more effective than the bleach solution. The results showed that the baking soda solution removed more pesticides in a certain period of time than the bleach solution. However, it took 12-15 minutes for the pesticides to be completely washed away with the baking soda solution.

Some claim that peeling the fruit is more effective than the baking soda solution. Most nutrients in a fruit is found in its peal. However, it also contains the highest concentration of pesticides.

Experts recommend to soak the apples in a solution of one teaspoon of baking soda and two cups of water for two minutes or more. The longer they are soaked, the more chemicals are removed. Rinse the apples before eating.

How do you wash pesticides off grapes?

Washing grapes can be a tedious work since they’re coated with the white, waxy stuff that is hard to remove by just rinsing them in tap water. But this waxy coating is roduced naturally by the fruit to prevent moisture loss. The baking soda solution works effectively in removing pesticides. Grapes also made it to the Dirty Dozen list for 2019 so it is important to wash them thoroughly with baking soda.

All you have to do is remove the grapes from the stem and rinse them in tap water. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of salt on the grapes and1-2 teaspoons of baking soda and shake them vigorously for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then rinse them with cold, tap water. Rinse them thoroughly to remove salt residue to avoid eating salty grapes.

Wash the grapes before eating. Avoid washing the fruit if you are not planning to eat it right away to avoid spoilage.

How do you clean pesticides off strawberries?

Strawberries may aid weight loss because of its low carb content but not washing them thoroughly can still be unhealthy as you ingest toxins in your body.  Soaking in baking soda solution does not entirely work with berries because it can make berries too soggy. However, strawberries should still be rinsed with clean water. Do not wash berries if you are not planning to eat them immediately. Because of their porous nature, washing and storing them makes them more likely to retain moisture and grow mold.

Another method to wash pesticides off from strawberries is washing them with white vinegar. White vinegar can also keep the strawberries fresh for a longer time. Wash strawberries with 1 cup of white vinegar in 8 cups of water. Let them sit in the vinegar solution for a few minutes and rinse them again to remove the vinegar residue.

What is the dirtiest fruit?

Strawberries. This isn’t a surprise since strawberries also top the list with the most pesticides. Strawberries has been topping the Dirty Dozen list for four years in a row! How ironic that fruits like strawberries are loaded with nutrients that helps us fight against diseases but can also be the cause of diseases because of ingestion of toxins. Fun fact: generally, thin-skinned fruits are more likely to be contaminated with more pesticides since it is easier to absorb pesticides. 

What does 4011 mean on a banana?

Some fruits , like apples, have stickers or labels attached to them. This can sometimes be a nuisance but what do the stickers or labels mean? The stickers are more than helping you to know the price of the fruit. These stickers actually helps you to know how the fruit was grown. The PLU code, or price lookup number, can tell you if the fruit is genetically modified, organically grown, or produced with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

A banana with the code of 4011 is conventionally grown with the use of pesticides. A four-digit number in the sticker like 4011 means that the fruit is conventionally grown. If it is a five-digit number and starts with “8”, this means that the fruit is genetically modified. A genetically modified banana is labeled 84011. On the other hand if a five-digit number on the sticker starts with 9, it means that the fruit is grown organically.

What are the health risk of pesticides?

Pesticides can significantly affect children since their developing brain is more susceptible to neurotoxins. According to some studies, mothers who were exposed to high levels of pesticides bore children who have lower IQs with the lowest level of pesticide exposure. Moreover, children with higher exposure of pesticides have an increased risk of developing learning and behavioral problems. Furthermore, high pesticide exposure can cause fertility problems.

What diseases can pesticides cause?

According to the Centre for Science and Environment, high levels of pesticide residues can be harmful as it can damage to the reproductive and nervous systems, weaken the immune system, cause long-term cancer and birth defects. Most severe cases often occur to agricultural workers since they have the highest exposure of pesticides on the job.



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