How to Wash Pesticide Off Apples

How do you wash an apple before taking a bite? It’s an important question because apples are repeat offenders on the Environmental Working Group’s list of fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide residue. This year, apples placed fourth – after strawberries, spinach and nectarines.

If you run them under the tap or wipe them on your sleeve or a paper towel, you’re not doing it right. Researchers at University of Massachusetts, Amherst found the best way to remove pesticides from apples is to soak the fruit in a baking soda solution. 

According to the EWG, Apples tend to have the most pesticides because of the chemicals applied to the crop before and after harvest to preserve them longer. And the longer your produce sits unwashed, the deeper the chemicals are absorbed.  

The researchers tested three different washing styles found that after two minutes, the baking soda solution had removed the most pesticides. It took a 12- to 15-minute bath in that solution to remove the pesticide residue entirely. They suggest dissolving one teaspoon of baking soda for every two cups of water. Soaking the fruit for at least two minutes and rinsing with tap water before eating. Peeling is another option, but you’ll be missing out on the fibre and nutrients in the skin.