• Sumo

How often do you see the little stickers saying “organic” when shopping in the produce aisles at your local grocery store? It’s a hot word to toss around, but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t look into what does and doesn’t need to be purchased organic. Truth be told, a lot of supposedly organic foods don’t actually benefit the consumer, either in terms of health and especially not price, so take a look at some of these fruits and vegetables and determine what you can safely skip buying organic (and some you shouldn’t).

Fruits:

A lot of fruits that you can safely buy regularly are ones that have a thick outer skin that you don’t eat anyway, such as bananas and pineapples. These protective skins soak up all of the pesticides and then get removed anyway as you can’t eat them, so there’s no harmful potential. Another example would be avocados, though kiwis and mangos are similar as their skin has a fuzz to it that protects the fruit and can be cleaned off with a good rinsing.

However, if you’re looking for fruits that do typically absorb pesticide due to a very thin, edible skin, or receive an unusually high dosage while growing, a good rule of thumb is to just go ahead and buy all berries organic. That includes strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, plus cherries, though those aren’t necessarily berries. Are they…? Apples and peaches also fall into this category, as do pears, plums, watermelons, grapefruits, grapes, oranges, nectarines, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons. You may be saying, “But a lot of those don’t have edible skins!” True, you probably won’t be eating the rind of a cantaloupe, but in these cases, the amount of pests is higher than other fruits, so the amount of pesticide is also higher.

Vegetables:

Whereas the safe fruits get by typically on account of their thinker, disposable skins, these four veggies get a clean bill of health because they actually have very few pests that try and eat them, meaning very little pesticide needs to be used to maintain them during the growing period. They are asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, and onions, so you can quite easily keep your costs low there and just buy them regularly without worry of excess chemicals.

Most other vegetables tend to fall into the same troubles as the fruits when it comes to pesticides as they either absorb it right up, or they’re heavy targets and therefore need a lot more during the growing periods. These include celery, carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes, lettuce, spinach, green beans, hot peppers and bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, and cucumbers. It seems pretty unfortunate that the majority of vegetables are healthier for you organic and therefore cost more, but sometimes that’s just the way it happens.

Ultimately it comes down to a matter of weighing cost versus return. Produce can be rather cheap, but organic produce will run you twice, if not three times as much as non-organic produce. Either your wallet takes a hit, or potentially your health. Tough call! What would you do?