How do I clean fruits and vegetables

Pesticides: How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables Properly

Pesticides, germs and dirt: is it better to wash or rub fruit and vegetables? Or just eat like that? We give tips

You can't tell by looking at the apple. You don't smell it either. But it was sprayed with pesticides an average of 30 times. Remnants of it stick to it and penetrate the bowl - this is how some of them get onto the supermarket shelves with it. And thus on our plate.

Other fruits and vegetables are also contaminated. Because in conventional agriculture almost nothing works without pesticides. Around 290 different active ingredients are approved in Europe alone, including the controversial glyphosate. In an official study in 2016, pesticide residues were found in 90 percent of all apples from Germany.

First wash thoroughly under running water, then rub dry

Even if the quantities found are harmless to health according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment: Experts advise you to wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly under running water from the tap and then rub them dry. By the way, washing is also recommended for fruit and vegetables whose peel we do not eat. Because when dividing melons, for example, dirt and germs can get from the skin to the inside of the pulp.

But anyone who thinks that they have removed all pesticide residues is wrong. In this way, a study by Albstadt-Sigmaringen University showed that only around half of all adhering pesticide residues can be removed. Not more. Not even with hot water or detergent.

Pesticides get under the skin of fruits and vegetables

American researchers have discovered a particularly effective method: They washed apples with tap water, with commercially available chlorine bleach - and with baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate). The result: a bath in a one percent solution of water and baking soda is the best way to remove pesticides such as thiabendazole or phosmet. Because the baking soda also ensures that pesticide residues are broken down. But who wants to bathe fruit and vegetables in caustic soda for 15 minutes before eating them?

In addition, pesticide residues are not only on the surface of the peel. If sprays can take effect for hours, the experiments by the US researchers have shown that they penetrate fractions of a millimeter into the shell. That may not sound like a lot - but it ensures that we only remove some of the residue when we wash up.

Important ingredients are lost during peeling

So peel it after all? The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment also advises that you are on the safe side. However, most of the valuable ingredients are often found in the shell. Take apple, for example: Up to 70 percent of the fruit's vitamins are in and directly under the thin skin.

By the way: If there is no water at hand, you have to use a sleeve or pant leg to rub the fruit on. However, this has more of a symbolic value. Because in this way you only remove the externally adhering dust.

If you want to avoid pesticide residues entirely, simply use organic fruits and vegetables. Synthetic chemical pesticides are largely prohibited in organic farming.