Clean fruits and vege of pesticides – best way
As we take fruit/vege smoothies everyday, cleaning them especially of harmful pesticides become my recent research topic! Here’s what I found…
It seems that one cannot avoid having pesticides and other possibly harmful chemicals on fruits and vegetables (including those claimed to be organic) nowadays – this article from Popular Science explains why “buying organic” can help, but not much. Hence the topic of ways to remove such are abundant online. There are several much talked about ways to clean or remove them, including high tech ones like using ozone. The more basic and simple ones commonly reported in the last decade include naturally using water alone, with scrubbing and/or together with some agents – vinegar, baking soda, salt, bleach, etc. (see this for a detailed discussion on each). So which is the best method based on comparison scientific tests ?
Baking soda added to water comes out on the top most effective agent- after soaking them for about 15 min.
A recent study in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found : A solution of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water (a 1 percent baking soda/water solution- about 11 gm of baking soda per 1 litre of water – calculations here) can remove more pesticides than water alone, provided you have more than a minute to spare. In the experiments, Gala apples that were allowed to soak in baking soda for eight minutes had significantly reduced pesticide residue on the surface, and at 12-15 minutes there were virtually no pesticides left. This is because sodium bicarbonate can help degrade two types of pesticides (the fungicide thiabendazole, and the insecticide phosmet) used commonly in agriculture (report abstract from October 25, 2017 article on Popular Science). The other “tricks” as reported in many “studies” for the past decade including plain water flushing works to certain extent, but seems not as good/effective as baking soda+soaking. For example, Science Daily reported in October 2017 also quoted that “washing the produce with either plain tap water or the bleach solution for two minutes, per the industry standard, were far less effective” than using baking soda+soaking for 12-15 minutes. And of course, there are many other uses for baking soda, here is info for 31 uses! And make sure you get food grade baking soda!
I’d not recommend using Ozone although theoretically it works, and handy machines are available online for domestic usage costing only around HK$200 which claim to be excellent for both fruits, vegetables, as well as meat washing/cleaning. The reason being the generated ozone may be harmful to human health as explained in great details in this amazing article – a blogpost- Scientific Logic by Dr Lim in 2010.
Credits and Sources