Pesticides are important for crop protection and sustaining production by managing diseases and pests during the cultivation and harvesting of food commodities. This has become a necessity for farmers to increase their crops. These pesticides are toxic to both pest and humans. They are harmful and cause many fatal diseases. These days, as a customer, I and many like me have a fear of eating pesticides along with food. So what should be done to reduce pesticide residue from the food products?

1. Scrub fruits and vegetables that are firm like melons, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, etc. A soft brush can be used for scrubbing for 5-10 seconds before rinsing them with warm water.

2. Pesticide residue can be reduced on veggies, fruits, daal, or rice by washing under a strong flow of water. About 70-80% will be washed away when washed under running water. Washing with 2 % salt water will remove most of the contact pesticide residue from the surface of fruits and vegetables. It is a good practice to wash two to three times while scrubbing with hands simultaneously. Carrot, bhindi, brinjal, and cauliflower can be washed with 1% tamarind water.

3. Make a solution of 10 % white vinegar and 90 % water. Now soak fruits and vegetables in them for 10-15 minutes. Stir and scrub the fruits and vegetables. Rinse with water and use.

4. Blanching is a short treatment in hot water. It is important to wash the fruits or vegetables wash thoroughly before blanching. Some pesticide residue can effectively be removed by blanching.

5. Peeling is removing the exposed cover of the fruit or vegetables. The contact pesticide residue which appears on the surface is thus removed. Discard the outer layer of leafy vegetables like cabbage or lettuce before washing as they grow near the ground. 

6. Vegetables and fruits which are eaten with their peels are advised to soak in water for half an hour and then rinsed a few times before use. Water with salt and lemon juice for soaking can also be sued. 

7. Here are some sprays that can be used to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables - 

  • Make a solution of 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and 250 ml water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray on vegetables or fruits. leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse well and use. 
  • Lemon/vinegar wash - 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 250 ml water. Spray, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, wipe and eat.
  •  Always drink milk after boiling and simmering it for some time. 

8. Pressure cooking, frying, and baking will minimize the harmful effects of pesticide residue.

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