From time to time people wonder if they are getting organic foods 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 a natural, clean lifestyle, here are some ways to know if vegetables are organic or not.
1. Look at the Size and Shape
Non organic food crops (GMO and /or those laced with pesticides) always look perfect. Therefore, if a fruit or vegetable has the perfect shape, larger-than-normal size, and a flawless outer look, it is most likely on the dirty dozen list.
So when trying to find out if your vegetables fall in the toxic-free category, bear in mind that physical characteristics are important as these can almost instantly tell which crop is clean and which is not.
They usually have variable sizes and shapes. Farmers describe them as “imperfect”. The reason is simple — these are not treated with enzymes, synthetic pesticides, or growth-enhancing substances.
They also have to withstand insect pests and different environmental impacts.
An example is some sweet peppers that we planted last year. They were big in size, good-looking, and well-hydrated, but this was all due to the love that they received.
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 farming techniques employed during the growing phase.
In that case, you can use Pesticide Test Strips to swab over your fruits and vegetables. These strips help to detect pesticide residues.
2. May Have Worms and Bugs on Them
As you just read, organic crops are not sprayed with 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 it was grown unconventionally is the presence of insect holes due to their constant biting.
Non-organic leafy crops will not have these holes because of the use of chemicals that are poisonous to insects. Insects are sensible enough to know which crops have poison on them.
This, therefore, 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 persons can instantly taste the difference — I know I can.
- Whenever you eat fruits and vegetables that are genetically modified or laced with chemicals, you’ll likely get a burning sensation in the stomach or chest area.
- Your mouth may also get watery with a bitterish or metallic taste.
- The food may also take longer to digest.
With organic foods, none of that happens. You can taste the flavor and feel the food doing what it is to do inside your body.
5. The Cost
When shopping at the supermarket, they will always be more expensive due to the amount of effort, time, and energy needed to maintain an organic farm.
Chemically-laded substances and practices can’t be used on the crops to speed up the process; hence, more manpower is needed to control the farm.
Things such as preparing the land and weeding have to be done manually.
A farmer also has to spend time picking off or getting rid of pests, maintaining compost, and performing other techniques that do not entail the use of pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, and so forth.
Inorganic fruits and vegetables are 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
Persons have experienced nasty allergic reactions after consuming them because of the toxins employed during the growing process.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Chest burns
- Stomach burns
- Itchy ears
- Mucus in eye corners
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Acid reflux
- Constipation or diarrhea
Chemical-free vegetables and fruits will not cause such allergic reactions or any other harmful side effects. That’s the best part about eating naturally grown produce — they are 100% healthy.
To recap on how to tell the difference between organic and inorganic foods; vegetables and fruits grown with synthetic chemicals may have the perfect look and size. Organic produce, on the other hand, may have a few wormholes on the leaves and you may also find small worms or bugs stuck on them.
Just make sure to wash your produce in saltwater and vinegar 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 chemical-laden vegetables that can lead to a lot of health issues later.
The benefits of organic food farming far outweigh the shortcuts of conventional farming.