The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen

When you buy fresh fruits and vegetables its important to think about chemical residue from pesticides and fertilizers. That's one of the reasons I'm a big advocate of buying organic produce when possible.

But, if you're trying to shave money off your food bill, there are some conventionally grown fresh fruits and vegetables you can buy without too much worry.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a report each year that lists the 12 types of produce that show the most pesticide residue after washing (the “Dirty Dozen”)… and the 15 that contain the least (the "Clean 15").

I recommend always buying the "Dirty Dozen" organic to avoid the health burden associated with pesticides. Because these foods rank so high, the Environmental Working Group estimates you can reduce your risk by 80% if you go organic when buying these fruits and vegetables.

The Clean 15 are the fruits and vegetables that showed the least amount of residue after washing. If you don't find an item on one of these lists, it means it ranked somewhere in the middle.

There are some soaps specifically formulated to clean fruits and vegetables of pesticide residue. They don't leave an after taste and are safe to use on food.

You can also try a homegrown solution of vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and water. (If you decide to pass on organic produce altogether, make sure to soak the "Dirty Dozen" in the solution for a little while, rather than just spraying and rinsing.)

Discarding outer layers or peeling layers that are more likely to have a higher concentration of pesticides can reduce levels of residue.
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The Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen