From time to time, people wonder if they are getting organic vegetables when buying from a local farmer or shopping at a supermarket. Do you know the difference?
Any farmer can say they practice organic farming techniques, but are there ways to tell if a vegetable or fruit is organic?
If you plan on adopting an organic lifestyle, here are some ways to know if vegetables are organic or not.
1. Look at the Size and Shape
To know if vegetables fall into the organic category, bear in mind that physical characteristics are important, as these can almost instantly tell which crop is clean and which is not.
Non-organic food crops will have the perfect look compared to organic food crops. Therefore, if a fruit or vegetable has the perfect shape, a larger-than-normal size, and a flawless outer look, it is most likely on the dirty dozen list.
Organic vegetables usually have variable sizes and shapes. Farmers describe them as “imperfect”. The reason is simple: these are not treated with enzymes, synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones.
They also have to withstand insect pests and different environmental impacts.
If you are a farmer, an excellent way to clear the doubts of critics is to get certified as an organic farmer or invite them down to inspect your farm.
Point to Note: Organic vegetables can still have the perfect look, shape, and size. This is because of the rich nutrients from compost and other natural gardening techniques employed during the growing phase.
In that case, you can use Pesticide Test Strips to swab your fruits and vegetables. These strips help detect pesticide residues.
2. They May Have Worms and Bugs on Them
As you just read, organic crops are not sprayed with synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or other harmful substances , and the seeds are not genetically modified.
Non-organic crops (especially leafy vegetables) will most definitely be without insects due to the number of chemicals used during their growing phase. Chemical-free crops, on the other hand, may have a few bugs on them.
To get rid of the bugs and worms, all you have to do is soak your vegetables in water containing salt and vinegar.
3. Insect Holes in Leafy Crops
When it comes to leafy vegetables like cabbage and callaloo, the biggest indication that they were grown organically is the presence of insect holes due to their constant biting.
Non-organic leafy crops may not have these holes because of the use of chemicals that are poisonous to insects.
Insects are smart enough to know which crops have poison on them. This means that they’ll only feed on plants that are free of harmful substances. Isn’t that something to learn from?
Insect holes and the visible bugs and worms are perhaps the most significant dissimilarities that will immediately tell which crops are on the Clean Fifteen list .
4. The Taste
Some people can instantly taste the difference; I know I can.
- Whenever I eat fruits and vegetables that are genetically modified or laced with chemicals, I almost always get a burning sensation in my stomach and/or chest area.
- My mouth also gets watery with a bitterish or metallic taste.
- The food also takes longer to digest.
With organic foods, none of that happens. I can taste the flavor and feel the food doing what it is supposed to do inside my body.
5. The Cost
When shopping at the supermarket, organic vegetables may be more expensive. This is due to the amount of effort, time, and energy needed to maintain an organic farm.
Chemically-laden substances and practices can’t be used on organic crops to speed up the process. Therefore, more manpower is needed to control the farm.
Things such as preparing the land and weeding have to be done manually. A farmer may also have to spend time getting rid of pests and maintaining compost. The farmer may also be performing other techniques that do not entail the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides.
Inorganic fruits and vegetables tend to be easier to grow, hence their lower cost. Nevertheless, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. If you care about your health, it is a smart move to spend a little more money to buy organic produce now than to pay the doctor later.
6. Non-Organic Foods May Cause Allergic Reactions
People have experienced nasty allergic reactions after consuming food that is not organic. This may be due to the toxins employed during the growing process.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Chest burns
- Stomach burns
- Itchy ears
- Tongue burns
- Mucus in the eye corners
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Acid reflux
- Constipation or diarrhea
Organic vegetables and fruits will not cause such allergic reactions or any other harmful side effects. That’s the best part about eating organically grown produce—it’s 100% healthy.
So, how do you tell the difference between organic and inorganic vegetables? Those grown with synthetic chemicals may have the perfect look and size. Organic produce, on the other hand, may have a few wormholes in the leaves. You may also find small worms or bugs stuck on them.
Just make sure to wash your produce thoroughly. This will help to get rid of the worms and bugs when preparing for cooking or eating.
In the end, it’s better to pick off a few worms and bugs than to ingest vegetables sprayed with harmful chemicals. Those, no doubt, may lead to a lot of health issues later.
The benefits of organic produce far outweigh those of those grown conventionally.