Low Pesticides Foods You Don’t Have to Buy Organic

In our previous list of foods you should buy organic we focused on foods that show excessive residue of pesticides in edible parts. To keep things balanced, here is the list of foods you don’t have to buy organic, because they either do not require pesticide treatment – thanks to their natural pest resistance – or because these foods have protective layer (a peel) which prevents absorption of pesticides by the edible parts.

This being said – it is recommended to eat organic food whenever possible. Aside from being good for your health, organic foods is also good for the Earth. It is essential to point out that “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean “100% pesticides free”. Produce of every kind is subject to fungal and/or mold deterioration but most of all – unless you have grown the produce organically yourself – all you have to work with when buying organic from the grocery store is someone’s pledge that the products you are purchasing truly are organic. Unfortunately, seals of approval as well as all other forms of certification can be purchased because people are easily corrupted by money.

Despite of all potential downfalls, conventional foods are more or less guaranteed to have gone through pesticide treatment whereas with organic foods you stand much better chance of eating healthy. Still, thanks to natural abilities of some foods to resist pests or to protect parts that we eat from outside agents, the foods from the list below would be generally safe even in non organic versions. Without further ado, this is the list of low pesticides foods you do not have to buy organic:

Onions

Onions are a perfect example of a food you don’t have to buy organic. Because few pests choose onions as their hosts, only few and only mild acting agents are used during pesticide spraying.

Onion - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Jon Sullivan, Wikipedia

Onion - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Jon Sullivan, Wikipedia

Avocados

Thick skin wrapped around soft, edible parts prevents chemical build-up making non organic avocados a reasonably safe option.

Avocado - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Darwin Bell, Flickr

Avocado - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Darwin Bell, Flickr

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn fields are heavily sprayed by the pesticides but little of the bad stuff makes it to the kernels. Various laboratory tests proved little chemical residue on the Sweet Corn kernels making it a reasonably safe food even in non organic form.

Sweet Corn - Low Pesticides Foods You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: USDA, Wikipedia

Sweet Corn - Low Pesticides Foods You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: USDA, Wikipedia

Pineapple

Most chemical residue gets trapped in the skin of the Pineapples which gets peeled off before consumption. Remember to wash the fruit before you start peeling the skin off so you do not contaminate the juicy parts with the knife that was cutting through pesticide rich skin.

Pineapple - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Markus Leupold-Löwenthal, Wikipedia

Pineapple - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Markus Leupold-Löwenthal, Wikipedia

Mango

Like Pineapples, Mangoes are protected by tough skin that gets peeled off to expose soft juicy part inside. Rinse your non organic Mangoes under running water to remove residue before cutting.

Mango - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Zeetz Jones, Flickr

Mango - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Zeetz Jones, Flickr

Asparagus

Asparagus is not an attractive target for insects or vegetable diseases making it an easy veggie to grow. Because of that, there is no need to use many pesticides.

Asparagus - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: itsjustanalias, Flickr

Asparagus - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: itsjustanalias, Flickr

Sweet Peas

Numerous tests proved that pesticide residues are near undetectable in samples of non organic Sweet Peas.

Sweet Peas - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Gaetan Lee, Wikipedia

Sweet Peas - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Gaetan Lee, Wikipedia

Cabbage

Another vegetable that requires fewer pesticides because it’s not subjected to so many pests. It will grow nicely even without any chemicals involved.

Cabbage - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Biso, Wikipedia

Cabbage - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Biso, Wikipedia

Eggplant

As is the case with Sweet Peas, Environmental Working Group claims that traces of pesticides are undetectable in Eggplants. Thick skin wrapped around it surely does great job keeping the chemicals away from edible parts.

Eggplant - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: J.E. Fee, Wikipedia

Eggplant - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: J.E. Fee, Wikipedia

Papaya

Papaya skin is thick and does great job protecting the edible fruit inside from pesticides. As with Pineapple, it is recommended you wash Papaya under running water prior to cutting to avoid contamination by residues found on fruit’s skin.

Papaya - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: love♡janine, Flickr

Papaya - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: love♡janine, Flickr

Watermelon

I assume you already know the answer to why pesticides don’t make it to the juicy parts of Watermelons. There is hardly any chemical that could make it past that rind.

Watermelon - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Steve Evans, Wikipedia

Watermelon - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Steve Evans, Wikipedia

Broccoli

Broccoli doesn’t face many pest threats hence fewer pesticides are needed to grow it.

Broccoli - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Яick Harris, Flickr

Broccoli - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Яick Harris, Flickr

Sweet Potato

Environmental Working Group retains that Sweet Potatoes are unlikely to get contaminated by pesticides and tests tend to prove the claim.

Sweet Potato - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: RaeA, Flickr

Sweet Potato - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: RaeA, Flickr

Unlikely Candidate – Kiwi

Kiwi is said to get less contaminated thanks to its skin that prevents absorption of chemicals. Because of this it technically should be included on the list of low pesticide foods you don’t have to buy organic but that would require peeling the skin before eating. If you are not aware, most of the nutrients as well as high doses of Vitamin C – one of the most potent antioxidants – are found directly under the skin of this fruit. By peeling skin off you strip the fruit off its most valuable nutrients. I strictly eat Kiwi with skin (and always organic) and I’d recommend everyone doing the same. Do not peel your Kiwis, but make sure you buy organic if you intend to eat it with the skin.

Kiwifruit - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Darrren Hester, Flickr

Kiwifruit - Low Pesticides Food You Don't Have to Buy Organic, Photo: Darrren Hester, Flickr

While list above contains foods that are reasonably safe even if non organic version is bought, you should keep in mind that organic foods are not only healthier for your body, they are also more sustainable for the planet. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown from seeds that were not genetically modified and no sewage based fertilizers or chemical pesticides were used during the course of growing. Farming soils likes that.

Furthermore, even though the foods on the list tested low for pesticide residues, various studies suggest that organic foods are richer in essential nutrient than their non organic versions. The reason we have published this list even though we openly recommend buying organic whenever possible, is because in today’s tough economic times it is not always possible to stick with often higher-priced organic foods. This way if you only buy organic foods which are known to be full of pesticides in non organic versions and stick with non organic when buying foods found on this list, it will make the cost of staying healthy more bearable. Remember – mother nature will thank you each time you buy organic.

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5 Responses to “Low Pesticides Foods You Don’t Have to Buy Organic”

  1. Richard Khaw Says:

    List of low pesticide foods

  2. gowmukhi Says:

    I have a question. The reason that a thick skin does not allow pesticides sounds good. But are the pesticides used on only fully grown fruits i.e after they have developed thick skins?
    Are the pesticides not used during entire lifecycle of a fruit (flower to fruit stage) ? If yes, then how does this theory hold good? A fruit in its baby stage has thin skin, will absorb the pesticides.

  3. Shay Says:

    gowmukhi, good point. This is why one should not rely on theories as to which foods have least residues, rather on studies. The studies don’t care why, just find which ones in fact have low residues. I believe the above list is based on studies of the foods, with the “thick skin keeps pesticides out” offered merely as a possible reason for the low residue. Even if the thick skin isn’t the reason, the low residue finding still holds.

  4. Eve Cassidy Says:

    Interesting article, i didn’t realise there were so many foods that are fairly safe to consume non organic. I can’t help thinking that supermarkets are selling these products and charging a premium without a real need to do so.

  5. gowmukhi Says:

    A lot of these veggies do really need good amount pesticides. I am a farmer myself, and broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, eggplants, are easily attacked by heavy amount of pests throughout their lifecycle. Farmers have to be vigilant and need to use the pesticides whenever its needed. So please, don’t believe everything you read in this article. Be careful and stick to the true organics.

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