Monday, February 28, 2011

The Dirty Dozen....

 I don't know if you've heard of the "Dirty Dozen" (not the movie!) ?   
Every time you eat fruits, vegetables, or grains, you consume residues of insect killers and fungicides -- unless you eat only organic foods.  Yet not everyone's budget allows for buying only organic foods, which typically (not always) are pricier, but also must not be produced with the use of synthetic chemicals, radiation or fertilizers made of sewage sludge.  (gross!)

You can drastically reduce your intake of pesticides and fungicides by avoiding the "dirty dozen".  These are the top 12 (plus a few more...) worst fruits and vegetables for contaminates.   These are the ones where the residue cannot be washed away by scrubbing.  Many of these it's because they have a very high water content, and the pesticides and fungicides are absorbed right into the "meat" of the fruit, and others, they are very thinned skinned, and prone to little critters.

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)
If your budget allows for more, here are the next few to try to buy organic:
  1. Lettuce
  2. Blueberries (imported)
  3. Carrots
  4. Green beans (domestic)
  5. Pears
  6. Plums (imported)
  7. Summer squash
  8. Cucumbers (imported)

To save money in your grocery budget, you can feel comfortable buying the following fruits and vegetables in the the regular produce section since they're lowest in pesticides:

  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mangos
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet potato
  15. Honeydew melon
And if you are like me, and you get to the produce section and can't remember if the veggie you just picked up is on the Dirty List, then follow this link to print off a pocket reminder guide - SO helpful!


  1. I so love this list! I've often wondered what is good to go and what should be organic. So far, I've done pretty good!

    Another list that would be great - though somewhat impossible - would be a 'What's in Season' list. Like I said - since we're geographically not together, it would be challenging!

  2. I love this list too!

    I should do a "What's In Season" list. This is the first winter I've consciously tried to eat with the Season, and not buy a lot of stuff that's been shipped from half way round the world. For us, in the winter, eating what's in season means eating a lot of what I've put up the previous Summer and Fall!