Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Removing pesticides from produce with vinegar

In my book I explain why it's always better to buy organic.

But sometimes it's not really practical.

Affordability, availability, and sometimes freshness, are not always maximised with organic produce, depending on where you live.

I blogged earlier about minimising your pesticide consumption by buying smart.

The other way is to wash the produce in vinegar.

I'm not sure of the chemistry-based reason why this works, but it's been around for generations. Just soak fruit and vegetables in a mixture of vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 9 parts cold water) for five minutes (scrub with a brush if something hard like a potato or apple) then rinse in plain cold water.

Any vinegar will do; I recommend the plain white vinegar you can buy in bulk.

For obvious reasons, this method doesn't work with mushrooms (which are better wiped rather than washed) and soft fruits like berries, which just soak up the vinegar.

A caveat is that some pesticides permeate the skin, so this method won't be fail-safe; neither will it help if the pesticides are beneath a waxy coating - you know, like you often find on supermarket apples.

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