In an ideal world, all of our produce would be fresh, seasonal, and free of pesticide chemicals. In the real world, we can certainly opt for fresh and seasonal by supporting local growers, but not everything is organically grown. Everyone has their personal preference in terms of what is most important to them about the food they choose; for me it is important to buy direct and support the local community rather than importing organic produce which has been picked when unripe and cold stored before travelling thousands of kilometres.
So if you are like me, and love local seasonal produce, how can you reduce the pesticide load to almost nil? If organic produce is out of the question due to affordability or availability, then try this simple method utilising the power of apple cider vinegar.
First, make sure that you choose organic apple cider vinegar with the mother culture, then add one part vinegar to three parts water in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture liberally on the fruit and vegetables – you might want to do this over the kitchen sink – leave for 5-10 minutes and then rinse well using pure water. Studies have shown that 98% of bacteria are eliminated using this simple technique. You can also soak your produce using the same ratio of vinegar and water, although this uses a lot more vinegar and water.
If you want to remove all traces of pesticide, you can then place the washed fruit and vegetables in a large bowl of cold water with 125ml of 3% Hydrogen peroxide (this is usually available from supermarkets and chemists). Let the produce sit for 1-2 minutes and then scrub it with a soft toothbrush or rough flannel, depending on how delicate the skin is. Rinse thoroughly with pure water and enjoy the next best thing to organic fruit and vegetables! While this might sound a little time consuming, it is really a very simple habit to incorporate into your weekly routine.