10 ways to find out if your food is organic

Here we discussed how to find out if our food is organic –
1.Appearance If it is naturally and organically grown, no two items will look identical… ever! It’s just not possible to find two things that look absolutely alike in nature. No two leaves of the same mango tree will ever look 100% alike. Similarly, each apple, mango or even grain will always look different from another. Their colour, shape, structure will never be uniform. There will, for instance, be different shades of yellow in your moong dal instead of the uniformly bleached yellow of the regular packaged dal.

2.Size Up Fruits, vegetables and grains won’t be huge in size. So while it is okay to go “ooh aah!” over huge potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, eggplants, cauliflower, capsicum and the humble lauki, or bottle gourd, it is better not to transfer them to your plate. There are, of course, special cases in which people do grow large-sized fruits and vegetables organically as well, but they are not the norm and are difficult to find.

3.Your Insect Friends Keedas (worms) in your grains are actually good news. Naturally grown sabut daals (like moong sabut, or urad sabut), atta, maida, brown rice, white rice and other grains will get keedas after two-three months and especially in the rains… because keedas too know that non-organic food is just not edible. So don’t jump up and down when you see the worms; all you need to do is wash the grain or sun them out like our grandmothers would and still live on to a 100 years. Keedas don’t contaminate your food, pesticides do. Similarly, if you see a few holes in the leaves of the greens you are buying, pick up the bunch; it means it is not heavily ‘pesticided’. And one rule of thumb to follow with greens is this: after washing them well, give a final rinse of salt water for two-three minutes. This helps remove germs and residue.

4.Tasty Natural is just tastier. When you cook organic vegetables, you will realize that you need less spices as there is so much natural flavour. Similarly, organic fruits are juicier as they are allowed to ripen on the tree. Otherwise, fruits are usually plucked when green and then gassed to ripen and increase shelf life. In the case of a banana, your taste buds will speak up because the pesticide fruit has more water due to the spraying of acetylene gas. Unfortunately, most mangoes today are artificially ripened and apples have the maximum pesticides. The adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is actually only for organic apples.

5.Healthier Organic feels healthier, is far lighter on the digestive system and also helps reduce acidity and gas related GI issues. You will feel a perceptible difference soon enough.

6.The Smell Test The aroma and texture of organic food is totally different — very potent, in fact. Organic spices, for instance, will have a strong aroma and flavor as they retain their oil content. In non-organic spices, the oils have been extracted and sold separately so they are devoid of any oil. Plus they are usually adulterated, so you need to use more to get the same result. Try ajwain/laung/zeera… just eat it raw and you’ll know the difference. Your tongue will have a strong sensation after half a teaspoon of organic ajwain. Similarly, organic apples have a divine fragrance; keep a crate of organic apples in the house to find out.
One problem though is that industries now do a good job of recreating the original smell. The smell of pure ghee, for example, is added in the lab. Some just add the fragrance to make you think you are buying pure ghee, whereas you could actually be buying something totally nutrition less and worthless. So be careful.

7.Cook Faster Organically grown food always cooks much faster; in fact if you are a multi-taker is careful as you might just burn the dish if you go out to peep in the garden while it is cooking. Food with pesticides needs to be cooked for much longer periods.

8.Read Please read the label and checks for any preservatives present in the product; most preservatives are petroleum based — you surely don’t want to be consuming those!

9.Certification Though not a norm in India yet, sometimes fruits and vegetables meant for exports do land up in the local market and have a sticker on them that can be checked. (4 digit PLU — price look up code — the sticker basically means grown with pesticides; 5 digit codes starting with 8 means GM grown, 5 digit codes starting with 9 means organically grown. In India, we basically have the regular 4 digit PLU which indicates that it is grown with pesticides).

10.Shelf Life It is a myth that organic fruits and vegetables spoil faster; stored in a refrigerator they last for a long time.
Ways to Test Pesticides in Vegetables.

Now a days many people concerned about their food supply as more unsafe case of food exposure to us. Especially for pesticides in vegetables. Due to the chemical growing of the plants, most of the fruits and vegetables are containing higher pesticides and nitrate than as usually. Thus cause a serious problem on our body healthy.

Many studies on whether pesticides can be found in their vegetables and organic foods can be found in many countries. And many countries strive to keep the food supply safe by setting limits on pesticide use on foods. The Food and Drug Administration and United Stated Department of Agriculture work together to establish safe limits of crop exposure to pesticides. And here we will share some methods of testing vegetables for pesticides. However, you can minimize your exposure to pesticides in vegetables by choosing and preparing foods carefully.

Methods to Test Pesticides
1. Testing Laboratories
Independent testing laboratories offer testing for pesticide residues in plant tissues. Plant material must be handled carefully and frozen as quickly as possible to prevent chemicals from being metabolized. They must then be shipped on ice to a lab. This kind of testing is only useful for vegetables that can be destroyed. It is also cost prohibitive, as testing starts around $100 per sample for a single contaminant. Many labs test only for suspected chemicals rather than generating a list of chemicals found in the plant materials. Laboratory testing is not a practical option for anyone except the commercial farmer.

2. Limiting Exposure
If you are concerned about pesticides on the vegetables you consume, you can take many precautions to limit your exposure risk. Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, theoretically creating pesticide-free vegetables. Chemicals used on long-tended agricultural plots can persist in the soil, but overall pesticide residues of organic produce are extremely low or non-existent. Eating a variety of vegetables also helps to reduce your exposure to pesticides. Vegetable variety literally spreads out your risk by introducing vegetables from different farms and plots that have received a variety of treatments.

3. Portable Pesticides Test Kit
Laboratory testing vegetables for pesticides require cost-prohibitive and sophisticated laboratory equipment, however, you can use Greenest nitrate tester, there are many portable tools allow you to test pesticides for your food on the market. Greenest nitrate tester is work by testing the nitrate level of your food by inserting the proper to the foods you want to test and it will shows you the results in 3 seconds whether they are safe or unsafe. Actually, vegetables contain pesticides its nitrate level is higher than others. So by testing the nitrate level can know whether the food has pesticides on it.

Bedsides test pesticides, you can choose which kinds of vegetables and fruits to eat, some vegetables are containing higher nitrate and pesticides. Carefully preparing vegetables that may contain residual chemicals and remove the pesticides for your vegetables by running water, but do not use soap. Peel vegetables to remove any surface contaminants that may remain. Discard the outer leaves from cabbage and lettuce. Cooking can also break down residual pesticides that may have absorbed into the vegetable in trace amounts.

Source from Internet; Article prepared by Bandana Bhyuan Saikia, Guwahati.

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