Not long ago, I shared a post about my concerns about pesticides and an increasing desire to buy more organic foods. Unfortunately, the cost of organically grown foods can be high and out of reach for many of us – Randy and I included. Thus, I devised a plan to shop for organic foods that would fit into our budget.

Our post, Shopping For Organic Foods – My Plan To Do It On A Tight Budget, has been getting a lot of attention lately, which leads me to believe that many of you out there are trying to do the same thing – add more organically grown foods into your diet while not breaking the bank. So, I got to thinking that it would be nice to make a list of the most critical to buy organic foods.

They’re often referred to as the dirty dozen of produce. These here foods are the top 12 you should replace beginning with the filthiest, if you are shopping for organics and eat often.

Buy These Organic Foods:

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines – imported
  • Grapes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries – domestic
  • Lettuce
  • Kale/Collard Greens

These here are referred to as the clean 15. This list of produce is generally doused with the fewest pesticides and are listed beginning with the cleanest.

Save Your Budget, Buy These Commercial:

  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn – If you have concerns about genetically modified seeds, you should buy organic corn.
  • Pineapples
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe – domestic
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushrooms

Source: EWG’s 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

If you are gasping in shock at the dirty dozen list like I was (we consume A LOT of apples, celery, strawberries, blueberries, peppers and lettuce!), keep in mind, the benefits of eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. So please, don’t let the dirty dozen discourage you from eating commercial produce.

The best thing you can do is to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables and wash, wash, wash your produce thoroughly under cold running tap water. Wash each leafy green separately (a pain I know). And, wash your melons such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honey dew as well. The outside rind may be crawling with germs just waiting to jump onto the knife you use to cut them open.

For more information on produce safety please visit the FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Also, check into how to pick the freshest produce and proper storage for a guide to shopping at your local supermarket and farmer’s market.

In the meantime while Randy and I aspire to afford an entirely organic, better for our family and the environment diet, we’ll pick and choose our produce according to the lists of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.

Let me quickly add, if you have never tried an organically grown apple – you really must! They are fruit-a-lusciously fantastic! In fact, all foods that we’ve tried thus far organic, really do taste better than commercially grown varieties. It’s just a tidbit I wanted to verify. I’d heard that organic tastes better, but I always wondered…

Check back with us for future posts about shopping for organic foods on a budget and discussions on food safety. I just read a few interesting reports about the safety of consuming organic meats vs. commercial (factory farmed) that’s worth posting as well.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave any comments about how you fit the cost of organic foods into your budget, or a better way to pick and choose which to buy at the market. Our budget will appreciate your input!