written by: Cheryl Gabbert•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 2/11/2010
While it's best to buy organic fruits exclusively, sometimes it's just not possible. Lower grocery budgets these days can make buying only organic difficult, if not impossible. Still, there are some fruits that pay to buy organic. Here are the most important fruits to splurge on.
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When You Can't Buy All Organic
If you're concerned about chemicals and pesticides that contaminate most produce, you've probably considered buying organic. It would be most beneficial to just buy all organic fruits, but the price is substantially higher, and the reality is that many families are just not able to buy everything organic. Even if that is the case with your family, don't give up hope. A little knowledge can maximize the food safety level of the the items you bring into your home. There are some fruits that are more important to purchase organic than others. Concentrate on buying organic fruits that are most likely contaminated, and then use some easy to follow tips for ensuring the safety of the remaining produce you buy.
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Why You Should Splurge on Certain Fruits
What's the difference? Isn't a pesticide on a fruit bad no matter what the fruit? Sure it is, but some fruits are more harmful when organic farming is not utilized. Fruits that have a thin skin tend to absorb more pesticides than fruits with a thick skin that will be peeled away. Since the peel of many fruits are typically consumed, these fruits may absorb and harbor more chemicals and pesticides than others too. Make sure any fruit that you will eat with the outer peel is organic. Certain fruits are difficult to wash effectively, and it's a good idea to buy those fruits organic too.
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The Most Important...
Peaches have been said to contain the highest levels of pesticides, and since most people eat the thin peeling, you should always purchase organic peaches, as well as nectarines and apricots. Berries also contain very thin, edible skins, and are difficult to wash thoroughly, so it's very important to buy all strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries organic. Apples are sometimes soaked in pesticides, and many people eat the peeling, which may penetrate the skin even when washed, so be sure to purchase only organic apples. Pears, like apples are very thin-skinned and therefore must be organic as well. Tomatoes, which are a fruit, should also be organic. Grapes are also in this category, and don't forget grape juice and raisins too. It is best to purchase all fruit juices organic, because you really have no way of knowing where the fruits came from, how well they were washed, and what sort of chemicals might wind up in that juice you're drinking. The same think goes for all dried fruits. Bananas have a thicker skin which is peeled away before eating, but may contain thiabendazole, which is a pesticide that can damage the brain and nervous system. It seems that since this is a favorite of children, organic is the way to go. While citrus fruits may be safer because we peel away the thick outer peel, if you are using the zest, be sure the fruit is organic.
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When You Don't Buy Organic...
When you don't choose to buy organic, be sure to wash the fruit thoroughly before serving, even if you plan to get rid of the peel. The fruit's peel will transfer pesticides to your hands, and then when you eat the peeled fruit, you'll be consuming chemicals anyway. Use hot, soapy water, then rinse with cool water for best results.
Finally, if your budget doesn't allow you to purchase organic fruits, head to your local farmer's market, flea market, or roadside stand. Talk to the growers. Many growers refrain from using pesticides, but can't afford to acquire organic certification. If you trust the farmer, this is a great way to get organic quality for much less money.