Friday, October 1, 2010

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

To buy organic or not to buy organic...that is the question. I don't know what kind of food Hamlet was eating, but I don't think he had to worry a about grocery budget...after all he was a prince. I, on the other hand, have a certain budget for my groceries. Until the day I somehow make a lot of money, I can't buy everything organic. Why is organic food so much more expensive than regular food..? (Well, I posted an insightful article on Veggiable's Facebook page to answer the question.)

As a guideline, I always come back to "The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen" guide. This is a list released by the Environmental Working Group revealing which produce has the highest/lowest pesticide residues. Of course, organic food is always much healthier since there are much more strict standards than just not using pesticides in order to be a certified organic producer. But this list has been very helpful to me in deciding where I spend my grocery money.

The Dirty Dozen (Most Pesticide Residue. Buy these organic!)
  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Cherries
  10. Kale/Collard Greens
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes (Imported)
The Clean 15 (Lowest in pesticide)
  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grape Fruit
  14. Sweet Potateo
  15. Honeydew Melon
(The data used to create these lists is based on produce tested as it is typically eaten (meaning washed, rinsed or peeled, depending on the type of produce. For more detailed information, you can visit can also download the list in PDF or the iPhone app from here.)

As I organically grow more food in my own garden, I'm also starting to notice that certain produce has more problems with bugs than the others. I'm not an expert on this subject but herbs will be the last thing I buy organic since many kinds of herbs can be actually used to repel bugs in my garden.

I hope this information is helpful for you to eat healthier and stay within your budget!

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