If organic produce is simply not affordable, rest assured you can reduce a signiﬁcant amount of pesticide residue by washing your veggies with bi-carb soda.
According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry (1), soaking produce for 12-15 minutes in a solution of 30g of baking soda and 3L of water was effective at reducing pesticide residue in non-organic produce. Salt and vinegar have also shown to be beneﬁcial in reducing chemical residue, although vinegar may leave your produce tasting strange.
In the life of a busy mum, washing vegetables for 15 minutes may simply not be possible. Instead, here are some quick methods for washing produce.
For leafy greens
- Fill a bowl with greens, then ﬁll with water
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and mix well
- Soak your greens for a minute, swish, dump, then rinse, and pat leaves dry with a clean lint-free kitchen towel or paper towel
- Storing leafy greens in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the fridge is the best way to keep them fresh
- Gently scrub mushrooms using a soft toothbrush
- Rinse them quickly under running water
- Blot the mushrooms dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel
For other veggies and smooth-skinned fruits
- Fill a large bowl with water
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- Add the veggies then soak for a minute or two
- Scrub with a brush (a new toothbrush works ﬁne, or you could use a small cleaning brush)
- Rinse off with plain water
- Only wash berries right before you intend to eat them
- Washing berries and then storing them increases microﬂora growth, resulting in moldy fruit often only a day after you purchase them
- Yang, T., et al., Effectiveness of Commercial and Homemade Washing Agents in Removing Pesticide Residues on and in Apples. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2017. 65(44): p. 9744-9752.