Each year, the Environmental Working Group puts out a handy list of produce items that are highest to lowest in pesticide residues. The list highlights the top 12 items with the most chemical residue – aka The Dirty Dozen and the 15 items with the lowest levels, aka, The Clean Fifteen.
Unfortunately the catchy names may not hold up long-term since over the last couple of years they can’t seem to pick just 12 with the highest levels of toxins. Now The Dirty Dozen is called The Dirty Dozen Plus since it’s a list of 15 foods at this point.
Here is the list below; it is recommended to choose the organic versions of these foods when options are available to avoid the pesticide residue left on them.
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Hot Peppers
- Imported Nectarines
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Collard Greens
- Summer Squash
Since buying organic can mean an increase in your food budget, I like to recommend attempting to grow some of these foods on the list above. Consider starting with the plants that you eat the leaves of: kale, spinach, collards, since these tend to be fairly easy to grow and can tolerate some shade. I’ve also found summer squash, strawberries, and potatoes to be plants that can provide a decent yield.
What is NOT easy to grow is celery, when grown from seed. However I have discovered that you can plant the base of a celery bunch and it will grow a new plant for you….thank you Pinterest! The photo in this post is of a celery plant growing in my house. I literally just stuck the base of a bunch of celery in some dirt and watered it. I’m amazed at how much it’s grown in just one week.
Do you consider the dirty dozen when shopping or planning your vegetable garden?