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How To Wash Vegetables, Plus Dirty DozenTM Vegetables And Fruits List

Are you concerned about possible pesticide residue on the veggies you juice? This is the place to get a list of the so-called Dirty DozenTM vegetables and fruits that show the highest pesticide levels, plus a list of the cleanest veggies. I will also give you some tips on how to wash vegetables and fruits.

These days folks who juice are bombarded with scary stories about all the bacteria, pesticides and waxes on fruits and vegetables. It can be difficult to know how to navigate this maze safely. It is clear that it still is a controversial subject.

Does this mean you should only buy organic produce? Are organic fruits and veggies necessarily safe? Which veggies should you select from an organic source and which ones can you buy from conventional suppliers?


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Luckily the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes to the rescue by compiling yearly lists of the Dirty DozenTM fruits and vegetables. Their lists give you an overview of the 12 fruits and veggies that show the highest levels of pesticide residue.

While the EWG by no means imply that you should not eat these 12 at all, they do recommend that you try and get them from an organic source if you can to reduce your exposure to pesticides.

If your budget is limited, this is one way of bringing organic produce within reach. You can select the 'worst' offenders from an organic source, while continuing to buy the 'clean' list's items from a less expensive conventional supplier.

This year the list actually contains 12 items, plus an additional two. The last two are not quite as bad as the others, but also show a level pesticide contamination which makes it safer to buy them organic. Let's take a look at the lists now.

Try to get these from an organic source:

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Kale
  • Summer squash
These can be purchased conventionally:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe/melon
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet peas
  • Sweet potato

Keep in mind that the EWG stresses that the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks inherent in pesticide residue. So, if budget constraints mean that you can't afford organic goodies, please don't stop eating or juicing fruits and vegetables!

How to wash vegetables. Is there a homemade fruit and vegetable wash you can use?

Should you buy a special vegetable wash to use at home or can you just rinse your veggies under running water?

Tips and advice about cleaning vegetables and fruits abound and cover the whole spectrum. In fact, the FDA says that it is fine to wash produce using nothing more than running water. Of course local water quality always needs to be taken into account.

General tips for cleaning vegetables

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before working with any food, especially fresh produce

  • Make sure that the fruits and vegetables are nice and fresh

  • Remove any wilted, brown or damaged sections

  • Color code your cutting boards - never use a board you have used for meats when preparing veggies

  • Always wash produce thoroughly before cutting or peeling, as your knife could transfer bacteria from the skin

  • Use a firm scrubbing brush for firm fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, melon and carrots

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    Many folks prefer to come up with their own wash for cleaning fruits and vegetables. Jay Kordich's homemade veggie wash is well-known. Jay's 'recipe' consists of adding roughly 4 tablespoons of salt and the juice of 1/2 a lemon to a sink of water. Soak the produce and then rinse it in clean water.

    Time frame for the soak:

    • Firm fruits and veggies between 5 and 10 minutes
    • Soft fruits like berries no more than a minute or two
    • Leafy greens 2 to 3 minutes

    Possible alternatives:

    • Add 2 to 3 tablespoons salt and 1/4 to 1/3 cup vinegar to a sink of cold water
    • Use apple cider vinegar in cold water

    There are many biodegradable produce washes on the market, but these can be expensive to use daily. Some of these may help to keep your veggies fresh for longer, though, which can save you money in the end.

    I hope this has give you a few ideas. Experiment until you find a routine that is easy to manage and you can be comfortable with. By all means peel your fruits and veggies if you feel safer doing so. I try to keep peeling to a minimum however, as so many nutrients are found in the skin or just underneath the skin.

    > From the juicing for health desk of Rika Susan



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