appleJust how dirty is the produceyou're buying? If you're anything like me, this isn't something you think about too often. You grab your favorites, like apples, grapes, and strawberries, and head for the register. Maybe once you get them home, you wash them. Maybe. But the 2014 Dirty Dozen produce listreleased by the Environmental Working Group might have you changing how you shop and prep the fruits and veggies that make it into your cart and then into your home.

Their annual list of the dirtiest and the cleanest foods in the produce aisle is here. They got their info from the FDA itself, so you know it's reliable. Some of the items on the list are far from shocking. 

Potatoes take the 12th slot. That makes sense since they literally grow underground.Spinach grabs slot number 6. Anyone who's taken a mouthful of gritty spinach will be the opposite of surprised by this news. But there are other items on the list that might take you aback -- especially because they are some of the kid-friendliest ones around!

Remember those apples, strawberries, and grapes we're so quick to grab and go? They take up slots 1, 2, and 3, respectively! That's right! These easy lunchbox favorites, the ultimate in healthy snacking, contain high levels of pesticides -- and those can't be erased with just a cursory rinse under the faucet.

But this doesn't mean you need to abjure fruits and veggies to stay healthy! There are loads of items that made the clean list that kids will eat up with pleasure. Pineapple is number three on the clean list, and kiwis and grapefruit also make the list! But don't feel like you have to restrict yourself to the clean list. You can have your apples and eat them too. But in the case of these thin skin fruits (and vegetables), this might be a good place to go organic. 

Sure, for most of us (myself included), buying organic everything isn't just a hassle -- it's ridiculously expensive! Until that changes, we can pick and choose. Go ahead and buy the commercial bananas, protected with a thick skin. But for stuff likes strawberries and grapes (or anything with a thinner, more porous skin), try to buy organic when you can. If that's not an option, then scrub, scrub, scrub your produce!

Do you shop organic?

 

Image via Dan Foy/Flickr