Safe Way to Clean Apples Before Eating Them

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Wash apples thoroughly or buy organic.
Wash apples thoroughly or buy organic.

Conventionally grown apples are ranked near the top of the list for the produce most polluted by pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group. Pesticides can cause brain and nerve damage, and young children and pregnant women are most at risk. Conventional apples are also usually dipped in wax to maintain freshness. Peeling apples is one way to reduce exposure to pesticides and waxes, but apple peels contain many nutrients. Instead, mix your own fruit and vegetable wash at home to safely remove pesticides and wax residues from apples.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • Pitcher
  • Spray bottle
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Instructions

    • 1

      Mix the vinegar, water, baking soda and lemon juice in a pitcher. Once the foaming has subsided, pour the solution into a clean spray bottle.

    • 2

      Spray apples with the solution and wait 5 minutes. The vinegar and lemon juice will break down and remove waxes and pesticide residues.

    • 3

      Rinse the apples thoroughly under clean, running water. Wash your hands with soap to remove any pesticides that may have transferred from the apples.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your best bet is to use organic apples whenever possible, which are free of pesticides and wax coatings. Organic apples may be smaller and lack the glossy appearance of conventional apples, but they usually taste and smell better. Organic produce is more costly than conventional produce. If you can afford only one organic product, make it apples, especially if you have young children, who tend to consume more of the fruit than other groups.

  • If you have room in your yard, grow your own apple trees. Buy dwarf or semi-dwarf trees and plant them in a sunny location at least 25 feet apart. You'll need at least two trees to pollinate each other and produce fruit. Apple trees are prone to disease and insect problems. Buy disease-resistant varieties if you're committed to organic growing.

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