As you know, I love food. It isn’t just fancy meals with locally grown and sustainable ingredients made by famous chefs or Top Chef Cheftestants. I love everything about food- from planning a meal that uses a new recipe or ingredient to harvesting items from our backyard garden, I’m always trying to learn new things to expand my culinary horizons.
Through Twitter I met today’s Tech Savvy guest and fellow blogger and foodie, Daniel Koontz. I’ve enjoyed Daniel’s popular food philosophy blog, Casual Kitchen, because he teaches his readers how to cook more, think more and spend less.
Today Daniel is here to share how to Get the Benefits of Organic Foods–Without Paying Organic Prices.
Nearly all frugal cooks struggle with whether organic food is worth the extra money. But did you know that you can capture almost all of the benefits of going organic without having to pay inflated organic food prices? All you have to do is make a few minor changes in how you purchase and handle the produce you already buy. Here’s how:
1) Don’t think organic, think local.
When we think about the benefits of organic food, the environmental impact of pesticides usually comes to mind first. However, there is an even bigger negative environmental impact embedded in your produce that most shoppers don’t even consider: transport costs. Transport costs drive up the both the price and the carbon footprint of your food. If you can source a meaningful portion of your food from farms within 100-200 miles of your home, you’ll save money and help out the environment at the same time.
2) Don’t assume that food lacking an organic label is grown unethically or unhealthily.
Many farmers find it extremely burdensome to meet all the government requirements to qualify for organic labeling. If you take a bit of time to visit with the growers and vendors at local farmer’s markets in your area, you may find they grow their food more sustainably and responsibly than the letter of the law.
On the other hand, if you insist on having an official-looking little “organic” sticker on your produce, you’ll quite often pay a 50-100% premium, and yet your food may still be trucked in from thousands of miles away with a significant and unnecessary carbon footprint. There’s no need to fixate on a little magic sticker. Instead, find opportunities to buy local and support responsible food growers in your region.
3) Local means in season and cheap.
Everybody knows that the cheapest produce is whatever is in season at the time you buy. Which brings us to an enormous and underappreciated advantage of going local: when you buy your produce locally, you’re guaranteed that all your fruits and veggies will be in season–because that’s the only time they grow! Best of all, your produce will be at its cheapest and most plentiful.
Consumers are growing increasingly conditioned to see tomatoes, apples, citrus and many other fruits and vegetables shipped to their grocery stores year round. And consumer who fixate on magic organic stickers and who insist on buying out of season produce are simply asking to be separated from their money.
Don’t get fooled by the artificial reality of your grocery store. It’s not normal, quite frankly, for a North American shopper to buy apples in the spring and citrus fruit in the late summer. Instead, take advantage of your community’s seasonal foods as they occur over the course of the year. You’ll pay a lot less and enjoy healthier, higher quality food.
4) For many fruits and vegetables, the benefits of going organic are negligible.
Many fruits and vegetables, because of their fundamental structure, are equally healthy whether they’re grown organically or not. Fruits and vegetables with thick rinds or peels (melons, grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, bananas, etc.) will be well-protected from any pesticides because you remove the rind before eating. Likewise, fruits and veggies that you peel or husk (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, onions, garlic, etc.) will have several layers of protection between the food and any pesticides. You can eat these types of fruits and vegetables without worrying about ingesting any toxins.
Furthermore, many sturdy vegetables (turnips, beets, collards, kale, parsley, etc.) don’t require much in the way of pesticides, simply because they are already bug resistant and extremely hardy.
Finally, with fruits or vegetables where you eat the skin (apples or green bell peppers, etc.), just take care to wash the produce carefully with a scratchy sponge and warm soapy water. This will eliminate any potential pesticides from the food, allowing you to eat it entirely safely.
Don’t buy organic just to buy organic! You can get most of the benefits–and avoid all of the extra costs–by following these four simple tips!
To cook more, think more, and spend less, visit Daniel’s Casual Kitchen blog.
Thanks for reading Tech Savvy Mama through your feed!
Original post by Tech Savvy Mama