“Ooooh lovely fruit and vegetables, love eating vegetables” said nobody ever, because they (read: me) were busy eating potato wedges and other assorted beige foods.
Still, some people still eat their fruit and vegetables, because they care about their ‘health’ or something. Only thing is, they’re actively working against their health by eating vegetables, because they’re preparing them wrong, and it’s quite detrimental to their bodies, it turns out.
It’s common knowledge that pesticides are used liberally on our crops, but what isn’t so well-known, is the fact that a lot of them stay on, or are absorbed into, the foods. For example, the fungicide thiabendazole is absorbed through apple skin, and the only fail-safe way to avoid ingesting it is to peel the apples.
Most people might run their pears under the tap for about five seconds before eating them, but all this really does it get rid of mud, or other assorted visible contaminents. If you want to properly clean your food of all the naughty chemicals, then you’ve got to go above and beyond.
In a recent study, scientists put two common pesticides onto a batch of organic Gala apples, before washing them using three solutions: tap water, a bleach solution and 1% baking powder mixed with water. Of the three, it was the baking soda solution that worked the best to remove the dodgy stuff. And even then, it took 15 minutes of ‘gentle cleaning’ to properly rid the apples of their scary poisons.
Research leader Dr Lili He, of the department of food science at Massachusetts University, in the US, said:
“The use of pesticides in agriculture has led to an increase in farm productivity.
“However, pesticide residues may remain on agricultural produce where they contribute to the total dietary intake of pesticides.
“Concerns about potential hazards of pesticides to food safety and human health have increased and therefore it is desirable to reduce these residues.
“The standard post-harvest method with bleach solution and a two-minute wash did not effectively remove these pesticides. For apples, the peel can easily be removed.
“However, important nutrients such as polyphenolic compounds, fibres, pigments, vitamins and minerals will also be lost.”
So basically, if you want all the good stuff but without the bad stuff, you’ve got to wash your fruit and veg with baking soda for 15 minutes before eating it; aka I’m never fucking doing that ever and will take the risk, thanks.
Still, a recent study revealed that the fruit and veg handed out to kids at school as a result of £40 million-a-year government scheme to keep kids healthy, was actually far from ‘healthy’. They found a batch of pears that had traces of nine scary chemicals, apples that had traces of 11, and a bunch of raisins that had an astonishing 13. They also found that the veggies going straight to the kids had way more crap on them than your standard supermarket stuff. A tad worrying, all in all.
I mean, not worrying enough for me to start rubbing my plums in baking soda for quarter of an hour, but still, I might tut or something. No problem a good tut can’t fix.
(Image: Jakub Kapusnak)