Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Dirty Dozen

Winter. Not the best time for fresh fruits and vegetables.  Farmers markets are shut for the season, and much of the produce lining the grocery store aisles have been imported from the nether regions of the earth, where they were picked unripened, zapped with radiation, and shipped to a dinner table near you.  Not to mention pesticides used.  According to the USDA, you expose yourself to more than twenty different pesticides daily if you eat the following foods on a regular basis. And kids, with their smaller bodies, are even more susceptible.

And then there's the organic section, which - let's face it - has the potential to zero all but the stoutest of bank accounts.  So what to do?  Following are two lists, the first of which contains produce which absorb greater amounts of pesticides, and should be purchased organic whenever possible.  They are listed from most to least contaminated:

• peaches, strawberries, apples, spinach, nectarines, celery, pears, cherries, potatoes, sweet bell peppers, raspberries, imported grapes

But there’s good news, too: Here are the twelve least contaminated foods, meaning you’re exposed to about two different pesticides. They are listed from least to most contaminated:

• sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cauliflower, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, onions, broccoli, bananas, kiwis, papayas

adapted from The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine

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