If you strive to keep your diet low in pesticide residue, then you have likely heard of the “Dirty Dozen.” While strawberries are always on it, they have made a move on the list this year to the number-one most pesticide ridden fruit or vegetable. About 40-percent of the strawberry crop tested this year had over 10 pesticides on them. If you are an avid strawberry eater, read on to learn how to eat strawberries safely this year.
Organic Strawberries Are Best, Especially This Year
Of course, the number-one way to avoid chemical pesticides on fruit and vegetables is to choose organic. Check out local sales ads (you can find many online) and check out local farmers markets to see if you can buy organic strawberries without breaking your budget. You may think they are more expensive than they are, because many people complain about the small mark-up so much.
When you find a good sale, don’t be afraid to stock up and freeze what you can’t eat right away. Strawberries freeze very well.
However, if you have a large family and organic is out of your food budget or you don’t have access to organic strawberries, there are steps you can take to prepare conventionally grown strawberries to minimize your pesticide consumption (although you cannot remove the pesticides completely).
How to Remove Surface Pesticides From Strawberries
Pesticides can penetrate all the way through the strawberry, but the surface is still the most highly contaminated part of any produce, so preparing those strawberries correctly can help reduce the amount of chemicals you eat.
Don’t just quickly run those berries under the tap, but instead mix up a solution of warm tap water, a bit of salt, and a splash of white vinegar. Then, soak those berries for about 30 minutes. Next, rinse the berries well with tap water while scrubbing them with a small brush.
If you don’t mind heating up those berries a bit briefly, then blanching them in boiling water can help remove additional residues.
Why soak in warm water and not cold? Because heat helps break down some pesticides. Why salt and vinegar? The salt helps break down some fat-soluble pesticides, and the acid in the vinegar can break down others. Why tap water? Chlorine can act as an additional pesticide remover. However, if you suspect your tap water is unsafe, then you can substitute filtered or distilled water.
However, keep in mind that no pesticide-reducing technique is foolproof or will remove all pesticides.
It can be very disheartening to hear that your favorite fruit or vegetable is so highly contaminated with pesticides when grown traditionally. However, you can feel safe when you choose organic or feel a bit safer when you prepare your strawberries correctly to help reduce surface pesticide residue.