Tuesday's Tips: The Dirty Dozen

With the price of everything skyrocketing these days, it's hard to make healthy food choices for your family with out breaking the budget. When it comes to grocery shopping, I will not compromise quality due to price, but rather make smarter informed choices. We live the philosophy of eating less meat through out the week, instead of purchasing meats with additives and nitrates or from factory farms. I definitely sing the praises of our organic vegetable and fruit delivery service, Door to Door Organics, many times in the past. Our delivery is every other week, so I have to supplement our produce from the grocery store on the off weeks.

Quite honestly, I find I play the produce game around my local markets. I suggest if you jump around from grocery store to grocery store, like I do, take a look online at their sale flyers and hone in on the best deals that way.

Another great resource is The Environmental Working Group's Food News. They have tested over a five year period produce for pesticide loads and come up with a dirty dozen. The theory is, if you want to reduce your exposure to pesticides, there are specific fruits and vegetables to avoid that are not organic, which is what they call the "Dirty Dozen".

Top Twelve Fruits and Vegetables To Buy Organic:
1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Lettuce
9. Grapes- IMPORTED
10. Pears
11. Spinach
12. Potatoes

Now these fruits or vegetables had the highest percentage of pesticide residue found on them (called pesticide load) AND/OR also had multiple pesticides found on them. Technically, if you could not afford to buy all organic, these top twelve would be the best to focus on. Interestingly enough, Domestic Grapes are 20 on their list, so they are graded differently. Although, we all know how international our food sources are these days. If you can't find organic grapes, atleast try to buy domestic.

I really have to hit home about Apples. We love apples, but beyond being treated with pesticides, typically more than one, they are also treated with a "food grade wax". We know it's to make them pretty! Who needs pretty apples? Not me. The food grade wax is sometimes a mystery and also contains chemicals. Yuck.

At the other end of their list, would be the fruits and vegetables that don't have a very high pesticide load, which to me equates, not as bad if I can't buy organic.

Lowest Pesticide Residue found on Non-Organic Produce:
1. Onions
2. Avocado
3. Sweet Corn- Frozen
4. Pineapples
5. Mango
6. Sweet Peas- Frozen
7. Asparagus
8. Kiwi
9. Bananas
10. Cabbage
11. Broccoli
12. Eggplant

Check out the EWG's methodology here for more info, you can also download a dirty dozen guide on the first link!


  1. I use the dirty dozen list when I'm buying produce!

    And, watch out for cucumbers! They're waxing those, too!

  2. so the whole potato/onion and lettuce/cabbage dirty/not as dirty confuses me the others make sense. I guess I should read the methodology. I miss door to door.

  3. I've been looking for a concise list like this! Thanks...And I had no idea about the apple wax. Yuck!

  4. Thanks for this great list, I always wonder. I think lettuce contains high amounts of some chemical that can disrupt the thyroid too, so that's one I try to buy organic or wash the heck out of it.

  5. I can't stand the apple wax either. Anything that will preserve a piece of produce for weeks on end has got to be bad for you. Maybe I'll research that one...

    Thanks for the list!

  6. Thanks for the tips! I've definitely been trying to buy more organic. I'm finally going to be able to hit the farmer's market again this weekend, I'm super excited.


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