Do you use water or even your clothes to clean your apples? There’s a more sanitary way to get the job done, according to a new report.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts recently conducted an experiment, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, to determine how to best remove pesticides from fruits.
While pesticides can help increase crop yield, they may have harmful effects for humans.
To determine how to make them safer to eat, scientists used Gala apples to apply two common pesticides: insecticide phosmet and fungicide thiabendazole, which is known to penetrate apple peels. The chemicals sat for 24 hours.
They then washed them using three different types of liquids. The first was water, the second was a baking soda/water concoction and the third was a U.S.-EPA-approved commercial bleach solution.
When they analyzed the results, they found that the baking soda solution was most effective.
After 12 and 15 minutes, 80 percent of the thiabendazole was removed, and 96 percent of the phosmet was eliminated.
On the other hand, they discovered using the bleach soak and water for two minutes were not “effective means” and did not “completely remove pesticide residues on the surface of apples,” the authors wrote.
Researchers did note that “the overall effectiveness of the method to remove all pesticide residues diminished as pesticides penetrated deeper into the fruit.”
While you can peel the skin of an apple to reduce harmful risks, you lose some of the bioactive compounds, which have health benefits.
Want to learn more about the findings? Take a look at the full study here.