The Environmental Working Group, as part of its "dirty dozen" list, labels certain fruits and vegetables that contain more pesticides than others. Apples make this list mainly because the peel --where pesticides tend to accumulate. To avoid pesticides, peel the apple or scrub the skins under running water.
Grapes get a bad rap because they tend to mold and therefore are treated with chemicals, especially those grown overseas. If you're not buying organic, try to avoid imported grapes, which often have higher pesticide residues.
Bell peppers are attacked by pests like cutworms and mildew and rot. According to the Pesticide Action Network, sweet bell peppers are sprayed with 49 known or probable carcinogens. Yet, the amounts of pesticides on bell peppers sold in the U.S. meet the government limits of safe levels.
The Environmental Working Group claims non-organic celery has 67 different kinds of pesticides. But instead of buying organic celery, you can reduce pesticide residues, dirt, and bacteria by thoroughly washing the stalks under streaming water.
Blueberries usually make the dirty dozen list, since more than 50 pesticides have been detected as residue on them. To avoid pesticides, gently wash all blueberries, whether fresh or frozen, to rinse away as much pesticide as possible.
Spinach has been found to carry about 50 types of pesticides when it comes from non-organic farms. If you want to avoid pesticides, canned has had fewer detected pesticides.
Peaches have been found with 60 different pesticides on them. If you want to avoid pesticides peel the skin off before you eat them. Also, canned peaches have fewer pesticides in general.
Potatoes are pesticide intensive crops due to the pest that threaten the crop. Scrubbing the skin is one way to reduce the amount of chemicals. Also, research has shown that sweet potatoes have a much lower amount of pesticide residue, which can provide a nice alternative.
Strawberries have a high level of pesticides to combat fungus that can smother the crop. If you cut down on the pesticides, try buying strawberries frozen where there are generally less total pesticides, or consider buying local. Locally grown foods are usually fresher -- and kinder to the environment.
Nectarines are considered part of the "dirty dozen" because imported farms --where they typically come from--carry a large number of chemicals. To avoid the chemicals, buy domestic nectarines. Also scrub or remove the peel to help reduce pesticide residues.
According to a new study, buying organic fruits and vegetables may not be worth the extra cash. Researchers from Stanford University found that organic foods typically don’t contain any more vitamins or nutrients than conventionally grown produce. While the research showed that buying organic does cut down on the level of pesticides, you may want to rethink shelling out the big money, especially if you can find ways to prepare food that reduces the amount of chemicals.