"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Organic produce: what's a girl to do?

If you're anything like me, organic and natural can cause some confusion. Yes, I know that foods that are natural are good for me, and yes, I feel like foods that are organic are probably even better, but unfortunately, my wallet doesn't always agree with me. I try to get as much organic produce as I possibly can, but let's face it: sometimes I just can't find or can't afford to get every fruit and veggie organic. Then I am wracked with guilt and worry. Will I die because I got something non-organic that might have harmful pesticides? Am I contributing to the destruction of the earth because the sale on non-organic carrots was too good to pass up?

The internet to the rescue! A few years ago I had seen this extremely handy site that features a card-sized list you can clip and carry in your wallet that lists foods you should always choose organic versus foods you can get nonorganic without worry. Then, like many good things I find on the internet, I lost the website before I could bookmark it. It's back, and now I want to share it with you. Go to the site to cut out the list to carry with you. And for the sake of convenience, here are the two lists.

THE DIRTY DOZEN (always buy organic)
  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Kale
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes (imported)
THE CLEAN FIFTEEN (lowest in pesticides)
  1. Onions
  2. Avocados
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potatoes
  15. Honeydew Melon
Interestingly enough, I already sort of tend toward these lists in my current shopping habits. I try to always get organic spinach, celery, apples, and berries. And some of the clean fifteen foods simply aren't available as organic options at my local supermarket, so I just get my non-organic asparagus because I can't pass up eating asparagus. But now I know that it's okay to eat it, non-organic and all.

Of course, we're left to wonder where along the pesticide spectrum other forms of produce we eat fall. (WHERE ARE CARROTS?) But this small guide is at least a good start, and I think the main Food News website yields even more information about this stuff. What are your thoughts on organic produce? Do you religiously buy all organic? Or do you think this is all an elaborate hoax set up by the government and food industries to get us to spend more money on food?

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