Monday, June 13, 2011

Zapping the Dirty Dozen

The 2011 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce was released this week. The list details the Dirty Dozen, the twelve fruits and vegetables which contain the most pesticide residue. The list also identifies the fifteen fruits and vegetables that are the least contaminated. This comprehensive list will help you determine which fruits and vegetables are the most important to buy organic. Picking five servings of fruits and vegetables from The Dirty Dozen List would result in consuming an average of 14 different pesticides a day. How scary is that?

To create the shoppers' guide, the Environmental Working Group collected test results from the USDA and the FDA from 2000 to 2009. Most samples were washed and peeled before being tested, so these rankings reflect the amounts of the chemicals that are likely still present on the food when it is eaten. Print out the list and throw it in the earth-friendly reusable grocery bags that I'm certain you're all using, so you'll have a handy reference every time you hit the grocery store or one of Seattle's fine farmers markets!

As scary as all that is, I have a remedy that is purported to reduce the residual pesticides, as well as wax, dirt and bacteria on fruits and veggies. This All Natural Fruit and Veggie Wash comes from Sophie Uliano of Gorgeously Green A study in 2003 showed that washing produce in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water can reduce the bacteria and viruses contained in vegetables to 95 percent. I like Sophie's concoction because it also includes Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE). This is a plant-based oil that has natural antiseptic properties. I was first introduced to it by my naturopathic doctor who prescribed it, to be added to juice, when I had a stomach virus. This plant oil has a myriad of medicinal and household uses, which are detailed on the front and back labels of my favorite brand, which is available online and at many health food or vitamin stores.

I make this up in large batches and divide into two, large spray bottles. One goes under the kitchen sink to be used on my produce. To the other bottle, I add several drops of essential oil (I like lavender best) and put it in the bathroom to spray down the tub and shower after each use. The vinegar and GSE help prevent and break down soap scum in the tub and shower when sprayed after each use.

All Natural Fruit and Veggie Wash

3 cups water
3 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons baking soda
60 drops grapeseed extract

Spray on fruit and veggies and let them sit about ten minutes before rinsing. An no, the vinegar in the wash will not affect the taste of your fruit or veggies, and the GSE is flavorless.

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