How to recognize and remove pesticides from vegetables?

Pesticides are chemical substances used to control pests and diseases in crops. However, these chemicals can also be harmful to human health. Therefore, it is important to know how to identify vegetables that have been treated with these chemicals.

External appearance

Vegetables with thick skin, such as apples or oranges, tend to have more pesticide residues than vegetables with thin skin. This is because they are absorbed into the skin and can remain inside the vegetable.

Other signs that may indicate that a vegetable has been treated with pesticides are:

  • Spots or spots: Spots or spots on a vegetable's skin can be a sign that it has been treated with a contact pesticide. These stick to the surface of the vegetable and can cause spots or spots.
  • Irregular coloring: Vegetables with uneven coloring, such as carrots or potatoes, can also be a sign that they have been treated with pesticides. This is because these products can affect the process of photosynthesis, which is the process by which plants produce their own food.
  • Odor: Vegetables treated with these products may have a strong or unpleasant odor. This odor can be caused by the pesticides themselves or by their degradation products.

internal aspect

Vegetables treated with pesticides may also show signs inside. These signs include:

  • Hard shell: The peel of vegetables treated with pesticides is usually harder than normal. This is because these products can inhibit plant growth.
  • Black seeds: Black seeds on tomatoes or peppers may be a sign that they have been treated with a systemic pesticide. These products are absorbed by the roots of the plant and are distributed throughout the plant.
  • Bitter taste: Vegetables treated with these products may have a bitter taste. This taste can be caused by the pesticides themselves or by the breakdown products of pesticides.

According to the American environmental organization Environmental Working Group (EWG), the vegetables with the most pesticides are the following:

  • Strawberries. Strawberries are the fruits that have the most pesticide residues, with 90% of the samples analyzed containing at least one residue. The most common pesticides on strawberries are permethrin, chlorpyrifos, and bifenthrin.
  • Spinach. Spinach is another vegetable at the top of EWG's list. 80% of the spinach samples analyzed contained at least one pesticide residue. The most common in spinach are chlorpyrifos, bifenthrin and dimethoate.
  • Kale. Kale is a leafy green vegetable that is a good source of nutrients, but it is also one of those that contains the most pesticides. 70% of the kale samples analyzed contained at least one pesticide residue. The most common in kale are chlorpyrifos, bifenthrin, and dimethoate.
  • Nectarines. Nectarines are a fruit similar to a peach, but with a smoother skin. 60% of the nectarine samples analyzed contained at least one pesticide residue. The most common in nectarines are chlorpyrifos, bifenthrin and dimethoate.
  • Apples. Apples are a popular fruit consumed fresh or in juice. 50% of the apple samples analyzed contained at least one pesticide residue.

Other vegetables also on the EWG list include grapes, cherries, peaches, peppers, and chili peppers.

It is important to note that this data is based on an analysis of samples of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Organically grown fruits and vegetables should not contain them.

Here are some tricks to remove pesticides from vegetables:

  • Wash them with soap and water: This is the most basic and effective method for removing pesticides from the surface of vegetables. However, it is important to use a mild soap that does not damage the skin of the vegetables.
  • Use a water and vinegar solution: Vinegar is an acid that can help remove pesticides. To make a vinegar-water solution, mix 1 part white vinegar with 3 parts water. Soak the vegetables in the solution for 15 minutes, then rinse them with cold water.
  • Use a solution of water and baking soda: El sodium bicarbonate It is an alkaline agent that can also help remove pesticides. To make a baking soda and water solution, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 cups of water. Soak the vegetables in the solution for 15 minutes, then rinse them with cold water.
  • Peel the vegetables: Peeling vegetables removes the skin, which contains most of the pesticide residues. However, it is important to note that some nutrients are also found in the skin of vegetables.
  • Choose organic vegetables: Organic vegetables are not treated with chemical pesticides. Therefore, they are the best option to reduce exposure to these products.

Additional tips

  • Rinse the vegetables well with cold water after washing them. This will help remove any soap, vinegar, or baking soda residue.
  • Do not wash vegetables with hot water. Hot water can make pesticides more easily absorbed into vegetables.
  • Don't cut vegetables until they are ready to cook or eat them. This will help prevent pesticides from spreading to other foods.

By following these tips, you can reduce your exposure to these harmful products and enjoy a healthy and safe diet.

It is important to note that these tricks are not foolproof. Vegetables can be treated with pesticides without showing any external or internal signs. Therefore, it is best to choose organic vegetables whenever possible.