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Bobbing for Apples

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If you’re concerned about any lingering pesticides on your apples (after all, they are among the most heavily sprayed crops in America) but the price of organic causes too much pain at the checkout, then consider giving your fruit a baking soda bath.

In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, food scientists at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, exposed apples to commonly used pesticides and then washed the fruit using a bleach solution, a water–baking soda mixture or plain water to see which would produce the “cleanest” fruit.

Plunking the apples in water spiked with baking soda for 2 minutes removed more chemicals than soaking in bleach or keeping the fruit under running tap water for 2 minutes. However, it took up to 15 minutes to completely rid apples of pesticides using the baking soda method. It remains to be seen if this cleansing effect will occur with other conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, but you can try soaking your produce in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 cups water for 2 minutes or more.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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