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The Dirty Dozen

ALL SECTIONS

ALL SECTIONS

— November 15, 2017

The Dirty Dozen

  • Those public watchdogs at Environmental Working Group (ewg.org, @ewgorg) say the following fruits and veggies have the highest pesticide levels—ugh! You shouldn’t stop buying them, but always go organic when you do.
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The Dirty Dozen

Grapes
Why you want them:
They’re a good source of vitamin K and copper, and they contain an anti-inflammatory substance called resveratrol
How to buy and store them:
Look for green stems firmly connected to the fruit; place in a sealed bag without washing, store at the back of the fridge for up to 3 weeks
What to do with them:
Add to mixed green salads and curries to enhance both flavor and texture; grapes also go well with yogurt and cheese

Nectarines
Why you want them:
Their reddish-yellow color indicates the presence of beta carotene; they also contain vitamins A and C as well as potassium and fiber
How to buy and store them:
Look for plump, rich-colored fruit with slight softening along the seam side; ripen on the counter, out of the direct sun, and refrigerate ripe fruit for up to 5 days
What to do with them:
Use in pies, tarts, jams, cobblers and crisps as well as drinks, salads, and salsas;
saute and serve with grilled meat; turn into ice cream and compotes

Celery
Why you want it:
In addition to vitamin K and a ton of minerals, celery contains phthalides, substances that appear to support heart and digestive health
How to buy and store it:
Look for firm, crisp, compact bunches with stalks that snap off; keep the whole bunch loosely wrapped in the fridge for up to 2 weeks
What to do with it:
Part of the classic soup base triad of celery, onions, and carrots; fill with peanut butter for a satisfying snack

Apples
Why you want them:
They contain polyphenols, which can help fight cancer and improve post-workout recovery by reducing muscle fatigue
How to buy and store them:
Buy fresh and in season, from a local farmer whenever possible (the average supermarket apple is 14 months old); removed bruised fruits immediately
What to do with them:
Besides pies and other desserts, apples supply flavor and crunch to salads; can be
made into sauce or jelly

Tomatoes
Why you want them:

Besides supplying vitamins and minerals tomatoes have also been found to protect the prostate (if you don’t care about that now, you will later on)
How to buy and store them:
Look for tomatoes that are heavy for their size, free of bruises or blemishes and have a strong aroma; store at room temperature until they achieve peak ripeness
What to do with them:
Besides salads? Add to bean and vegetable soups; in the summer use tomatoes to make the refreshing cold soup gazpacho.

Peaches
Why you want them:

They contain vitamins A and C along with potassium and iron as well as the eye support nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
How to buy and store them:
Look for a golden yellow or white, not green, background color at the stem end; refrigerate only as needed to prevent spoilage.
What to do with them:
Clingstones have a rubbery texture that makes them suitable for canning; freestones can be grilled, pickled or added to a spinach salad.

Cherries
Why you want them:
They’re rich in beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium; tart cherries linked to pain relief.
How to buy and store them:
Sweet cherries should be firm and plump; tart ones are softer; refrigerate, unwashed, up to a week.
What to do with them:
Add to meat dishes and oatmeal; dress with balsamic vinegar; top ice cream with them.

Cucumbers
Why you want them:
In addition to a variety of minerals, they contain B vitamins and fiber
How to buy and store them:
If you don’t want the wax, try visiting co-ops, natural food stores, and farmers markets; wrap loosely in plastic and store in the crisper for up to a week
What to do with them:
Besides putting them in salads and veggie platters, you can use slices as edible mini
“plates” for small raw appetizers.

Peaches
Why you want them:
They contain vitamins A and C along with potassium and iron as well as the eye support nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin
How to buy and store them:
Look for a golden yellow or white, not green, background color at the stem end; refrigerate only as needed to prevent spoilage
What to do with them:
Clingstones have a rubbery texture that makes them suitable for canning; freestones can be grilled, pickled or added to a spinach salad

Spinach
Why you want it:

Best known for its iron content, spinach contains a ridiculous amount of just about every nutrient out there
How to buy and store it:
Look for green, crisp, fresh-looking leaves; thinner, more flexible spinach better for raw uses than that with thick, fibrous stems
What to do with it:
Spinach and strawberries make a great salad; add to lasagna; saute with garlic and pine nuts

Cherry Tomatoes
Why you want them:
They contain all the stuff found in regular tomatoes, just in a smaller, cuter package
How to buy and store them:
Choose cherry tomatoes with the firm, bright skins, and a fresh, tomato-y scent; store at room temperature
What to do with them:
They make delicious out-of-hand snacks; throw them into salads of all kinds; chop and mix with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and small balls of fresh mozzarella.

Sweet Bell Peppers
Why you want them:

Contain very high levels of vitamin C and a number of other vitamins as well, along with the members of the carotenoid family (alpha-carotene, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin).
How to buy and store them:
Select firm, tight-skinned peppers with vivid colors, free of soft spots and blemishes; store in the fridge for up to 10 days (a damp cloth or paper towel helps them retain moisture)
What to do with them:
Use in salads and stir-frys; perfect for raw veggie platters because their shape makes them perfect for picking up-dip; chop finely and add to chicken or tuna salad

Strawberries
Why you want them:

High levels of vitamin C and antioxidants; have been found to help regulate blood sugar response and lower CRP, an inflammation marker
How to buy and store them:
Choose firm, plump fruits free of mold with a shiny, deep red color; very perishable—only buy up to two days’ worth at a time.
What to do with them:
Add to salads; layer with whole blueberries and plain yogurt in a wine glass to make a company-worthy parfait

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