We know buying organic fruits and vegetables is better for the environment and good for our health, however for numerous reasons such as availability and the hefty price tag that accompanies purchasing organic food, it is often put in the too-hard basket instead of our shopping basket. Which is okay and completely valid, however it does mean that we need to take a bit of extra care with our non-organic fresh produce purchases before storing and prepping them.

Why? Well first, let’s look at the difference between Organic and Non-organic and what that actually means.

Organic fruit and veg is produced using farming systems that don’t rely on synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or genetic modification. This means working with nature rather than against it, by recycling natural materials, maintaining soil fertility, and encouraging natural methods of pest control rather than relying on chemicals. Crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, green manures, legumes, organic waste, mineral-bearing rock, and biological pest control are used by organic farmers to raise whole, natural foods resulting in foods that contain higher levels of nutrients, less chemicals, and are taste smashingly better.

Non-organic fruit and veg is produced using farming systems that rely on chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and genetic modification. This results in a boost in production ensuring a larger supply per crop equalling more profit – but at what cost? Our health is a simple answer. Exposure to pesticides are linked to increased toxin stores in our body, elevated rates of chronic disease, and reproductive, immune and nervous system effects. Researchers have also linked symptoms such as headaches, tremors, lack of
energy, depression, anxiety, poor memory, dermatitis, convulsions, nausea, indigestion and diarrhoea with dietary intakes of pesticides.

Washing your non-organic fresh produce is essential to ensuring your favourite fruit and veggies are safe to consume and
your exposure to chemicals is dramatically reduced.
Washing removes dirt and dust, some pesticide residue, toxic compounds produced by mould, and detaches bugs. You will also get an added bonus of increasing the fridge-life of these foods as the bacteria
which causes food decay is removed during the washing process. Washing is required at an industrial level however the quality of water used in this process is poor and often recycled used in both harvesting and processing, which increases the risk of cross-contamination.

This is why we need to wash our non-organic fruit & veggies and not just rinse! Fortunately, you can drastically reduce your exposure to the pesticides and bacteria found on fresh produce with a thorough vinegar and water wash which will kill 98% of bacteria and remove pesticides.

White vinegar & water is a simple, affordable, and effective natural produce wash. Using a solution that is three-parts water and one-part vinegar will be most effective at removing bacteria. Place your fruit and veg in a freshly cleaned sink or large bowl and fill with water. Add white vinegar to ensure the ratio solution of three-to-one, and soak for ten minutes to an hour. If you have time a gentle scrub and rinse will be extra effective. To prevent fruit and veg decay, allow your produce to fully air or wipe dry before returning to the fridge.

It is as easy at that.

How does vinegar work? The acid in vinegar chemically changes the proteins and fats that make up nasty bacteria, destroying their cell structures – essentially causing the bacteria cell to die.

That’s it! YAY – here is to vinegar!

And here is to forever washing your favourite fruit and veggies in this easy and affordable method to ensure you and your family’s health is not compromised by our capitalism minded agriculture industry.  

By Guest Editor, Nell Abbott