The best way to remove nasty pesticides, dirt and bacteria from fruits and vegetables is to make sure you wash them thoroughly.
According to celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz, “When you grab an apple for lunch, your hands may be the 20th pair to touch it.” Even if most of the fruit you consume is grown organically and free of pesticides, there can still be a considerable amount of dirt and bacteria present on its surface.
In fact, fruit with skin or rinds that are not consumed, such as bananas, avocados, melons, and most citruses, should usually be washed before eating. And fruits that come from non-organic farms, gardens or orchards should always be washed well. Here are ten in particular that need a good rinsing:
1. Apples – No matter which variety you choose, apples rank highest among the fruits with residual pesticide loads. They are often waxed, too.
2. Cherries – The Environmental Protection Agency had to ban the use of azinphos-methyl on American cherries. If yours come from elsewhere, make sure you wash them well.
3. Grapes – Many people peel their grapes, but even if you do, dirt and chemicals from the skin can be easily transferred from your fingers to the pulp. Rinse the fruit well before eating.
4. Nectarines – Here’s another fruit rated high in residual pesticides and may also be waxed; it requires washing.
5. Peaches – Like grapes, even peeled, they should be washed first.
6. Pears – As many as 50 different kinds of pesticides have been used on pears in California alone. Wash them well.
7. Raspberries – Be careful not to soak this fragile fruit in water. Instead, place the raspberries in a colander and spray them with distilled water.
8. Rhubarb – Technically a fruit from a botanical point of view, the stalks often bear residual dust and dirt; the leaves, of course, are poisonous and inedible.
9. Strawberries – Because the plants grow close to the ground, bacteria in the soil can easily reach the fruit. Outbreaks of E. coli food poisoning have been linked to strawberries.
10. Tomatoes – Even organically grown varieties should always be washed. Germs may still lurk on that smooth, clean-looking skin.
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