I am so excited to start to talk about organic foods! The truth is that many people are confused about organic products. For information on why you should be choosing organic products try this website: http://www.organic.org/, or go to the library and order the bookOrganic Manifesto(http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Manifesto-Farming-Planet-World/dp/1605294853/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279504200&sr=8-1).
Today I will be mostly focusing on organic produce. I know that buying organic fruits and veggies can be more expensive then buying conventionally grown produce, so that is why I am going to give you some tips on how to save some cash and still be healthy! In a perfect world (well, my perfect world) all of my produce would be organic. However, the truth is that buying all of our produce organic can get very expensive. This is why I have chosen to talk about “The dirty dozen and the clean fifteen”. Let me explain. Some fruits and veggies do not hold as many pesticides (the chemicals that they have been sprayed with) as others. This means that with a good wash before using them (continue reading for tips on washing your produce) you can get away with buying themconventionally grown. These are called “The clean fifteen”, they are: onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi fruit,cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, and sweet onions.
On the other hand, there are about 12 fruits and veggies that have a high rate of pesticides, and should be always purchased organic. These are called “The Dirty Dozen”, they are: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, domestic blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale and collard greens, cherries, potatoes, imported grapes, and lettuce.
For a full list, and print out guide to take with you on your next trip to the food store, visit www.foodnews.org.
Another important thing to remember when it comes to produce (especially conventionally grown) is to wash it! I have always washed my produce because I am concerned about pesticides, but then I found another reason. One day I was in the supermarket and saw a young boy standing in the produce section licking the apples. Once his mother saw him, she simply stopped him and they walked away. I soon began to think of the other supermarket customers who touch and pick through the produce, and wondered about the cleanliness of the trucks that delivered the produce to the supermarket. Maybe I’m a germaphobe, but after witnessing the apple licker, I became more concerned about the cleanliness of my produce.
The fruit and vegetable washes you can buy in the store are a fantastic way to ensure that yourfruits and veggies areclean. But I have a cheaper and easier way to get the job done. Just use white vinegar! White vinegar is a simple and natural way to disinfect your produce. At my house, we purchase a large container of white vinegar, and then poor some into a small squeeze bottle that we leave by our sink. To clean your produce simply rinse it off with cold watter, spray on some white vinegar and rub it into the skin, and then rinse off the vinegar with cold water!
Looking to save even more money? Go to your local farmers markets! While there, make sure you talk to the farmers and ask them if they spray their crops. To become a certified organic farm, it takes many years of being observed and is very expensive. So even though a farm may not be certified organic, they may be selling “organic” produce at a much cheaper price! If you live in mercer county (New Jersey) check out the Robbinsville Farmers Market every Monday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at theNew Town Center parking lot on the corner of Rt. 526 and Rt.33.
This summer I have been obsessed with frozen fruit. Making smoothies, fruit sorbets, or just eating it frozen. (It is an amazing snack after a good run!) Freezing your own fruit is not only cheaper then buying it already frozen, but it is an easy way to stock up on organic fruit when it is in season (and much cheaper!). Recently K and I got a ton of organic cherries for a great price, and froze them. So of course I took some pictures!
How to freeze fruit.
Step One: Wash off your fruit with cold water, then with white vinegar, and then finish with a third rinse of cold water.
Step Two: If needed, remove any steams, peals, leaves, or pits.
Step Three: Place the fruit in a plastic ziplock bag and lay it flat in the freezer.
Step Four: Freeze fruit over night (8 hours) and enjoy!
Yummm! Now thats what I call nature’s candy =]