Along with autumn’s arrival comes the beginning of apple-picking season. It’s time to put the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, to the test.
Going to your local orchard to pick apples is a fun way to spend some quality family time together while getting a dose of some healthy fruit. Apples are known to be an excellent source of dietary fiber, which reduces cholesterol, aids digestion, and prevents certain types of cancer.
Unfortunately, apples have consistently been on the Environmental Working Group’s list of the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables (the “Dirty Dozen”). To steer clear of the large amounts of pesticides and herbicides used on apples picking your own at an organic orchard is your best bet.
Here are some tips to make your apple picking experience as healthy, green and pesticide free as possible.
- Look for a local organic orchard by clicking on your state and browsing pick-your-own farms options at PickYourOwn.org.
- Check the orchards site and verify it’s organic.
- If the site doesn’t mention organic or not organic call them and ask.
- Determine if they use herbicides or pesticides to treat their fruit.
- Check if the orchard an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) orchard? IPM orchards apply pesticides in a way that they pose the least possible hazard, and are used as a ‘last resort’ when other attempts aren’t working.
- Bring your own reusable bags to pick apples-please don’t use plastic bags.
- Start your own orchard or join a CSA with a fruit share. Some CSA’s have a pick-your-own day.
- After your apples come home make sure to clean them thoroughly.
Apple wash recipe (can be used on all fruit)
Fill a spray bottle with 3 cups of water and one cup of white vinegar. Spray each apple with about 6 squirts of the solution — just enough to coat the surface — and then rinses it in cold water. The cold water will wash the residual flavor from the vinegar, and finishes the cleaning process.
Enjoy your apples!
[Photo Source: Creative Commons Allesio Maffeis/Flickr]