Apples have been consistently on the EWG Dirty Dozen Shopping List. Apples are like the start of the food world (apple sauce for weaning babies, mmm!); even the beginning of the English language itself – think about it, when you start learning to read, “A is for ….. ?”
Apples seem like the most benign of whole foods. Who doesn’t like apples? Therein lies the problem. It’s like the first go-to fruit! It’s a huge market – the demand has to be met – make sure the crop is not attacked by insects or fungi for high yields – entice the consumer with a shiny clean peel … and so on.
Assumption: No ETL No.9 at home (see also My Strawberry Story)
What do we do?
Answer: Wash your apples well! Here’s why ….
I read an online article by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03118) on how to clean conventional, pesticide exposed, apples. Pesticide residue was found not only on the apple peel, but inside, into the apple flesh, too. The objective of the article was to find out the best way to reduce the levels of pesticides found on apples using tap water, bleach and baking soda.
Did you know that the standard post-harvest way of cleaning apples is to soak them in a Chlorox solution for 2 mins? Shocking! Even then, it is said not to be an effective way to remove the pesticide residue on apples.
The apples were also washed in a baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) solution, and a water wash, said to be the most effective way. It took 12 – 15 mins to get an effective clean from 10mg/mL (that’s about 10g/L just to put it in kitchen context).
However, even the best method of washing apples – in a solution of baking soda – did nothing to remove the internal pesticide residue that has seeped into the apple. The article suggests peeling conventional apples in order to minimise the consumption of pesticides.
There are, of course, organic apples! I would buy these instead. It’s a win-win situation: I don’t have to bother pealing them, and I get the benefit of the nutrition and fibre from the peel.
When buying organic, please wash your fruit and vegetables well. There’s no 2 ways about it! To override the assumption – consider buying ETL No.9
I once met a lady whose husband developed an organ infection after it became infected by fecal matter, probably from eating organic food. Fecal matter typical goes into the natural organic fertiliser use for organic crop planting.
I choose to buy organic apples, which I get from NTUC Fairprice, organic foods section and from Cold Storage. I find a ready supply of apples here, and they are usually in good nick.
Organic Red Apples: NTUC Organic Foods (Kallang Wave Mall)
Country of Origin: France | $7.45 for 4 apples
Organic Fuji Apples: (NTUC Kallang Wave Mall)
Country of Origin: USA | On Sale $5.45 / U.P. $6.45 for 900g
Organic Green Apples (Granny Smith): Cold Storage (Kallang Leisure)
Country of Origin: Australia | $7.30 for 4 apples