Let’s get into my 3 things right away because I’m pretty excited about them this week. As you probably know, I joined this Blog Party last week, which is created & hosted by Salma at The Write Balance, Raj at Pink Chai Living and Nisha at Love Laugh Mirch.
Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen
I was going to leave this as an entire post, but I really want to talk about it. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit Organization that works to reveal the truth about what’s in our food, household products & general environment. They regularly conduct studies that determine the amount of chemicals in various things that we use, and one of the studies that I look forward to the most is the EWG Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, also known as the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen Lists, which detail foods with the most and least pesticide residues. These lists rank the amount of pesticides that are found in normally grown fruits and vegetables. This helps people prioritize the types of Fruits & Vegetables that they should purchase that are organically grown.
The 2014 List has just been released and it is below:
Dirty Dozen (produce with the highest pesticide load)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap Peas
Clean Fifteen: (produce with the least pesticide residue)
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas (frozen)
- Sweet Potatoes
For more information, check out the EWG Website. As you probably already know, pesticides have been linked to hormone disruption, cancer, abnormal brain and nervous system development and a whole lot of other scary stuff.
Apples have topped the Dirty Dozen list for the 3rd time in row. The most common pesticide found on apples in the US is actually banned in the EU due to health concerns.
Living in Guyana, a lot of fruits that are on the list are imported – apples, strawberries, grapes, nectarines, bell peppers & snap peas. I contacted the QA/QC Manager from a company that grows the apples that I see in the market here. They told me that yes, they do use fertilizers and pesticides. These apples that we get in Guyana are imported from Washington State – can you imagine that? It makes me think about the sheer enormity of food supply chains throughout the world. Stop and think for a second – shouldn’t any fruit that can last for months on end (without so much as a spot), surviving travel and different weather conditions should raise some sort of suspicion? It is likely that the fruits and veggies imported in the country are treated with pesticides, and for a society whose diet is becoming increasingly diversified, this information is something that everyone should be aware of. I’m particularly sad as well because I love those fruits, but I am pretty serious about knowing what’s in my food and it motivates me even more to start my garden ASAP.
On a brighter note, the Clean Fifteen lists the fruits and veggies that carry a low pesticide load, so it isn’t as bad if you purchase the non organic types of these if the organic ones aren’t available or stretch your budget. I’m so happy to see Avocados on the list, as well as Onions, Mangoes & Cauliflower.
Basic Knife Skills
I always wondered what the deal was with knives. You see them in stores for hundreds of dollars, and you always hear on cooking shows and in books that a good sharp knife is the most essential tool in the kitchen. I thought it was over hyped until I got a new knife and literally felt the difference. Cutting was so much easier and I felt like a professional chef. I think the second most important thing is basic knife skills, which sadly, I don’t think I have quite mastered. I definitely can’t cut like the chefs on TV. So I heard about Craftsy – a site where there are video tutorials on a wide range of crafts. Most are paid tutorials, but there’s a free video tutorial on basic knife skills hosted by Chef Brendan McDermott. You can enroll and watch the videos anytime. I enrolled but have been too lazy to really watch the videos, but enough is enough! I promise I’ll learn this weekend. Anyone wanna join me?
NovelTea Tea bags
I’ve always loved reading books although I don’t fall for the ‘book lovers’ gift ideas that Amazon and other gift sites have. I occasionally find stuff I like and usually give them as gifts to my other book loving buddy, but overall I dont need anything fancy, just give me a book. And a cup of tea. Which is why I actually really like this gift I stumbled across – Novel Teas (get it?) tea bags. Every tea bag tag has a different literary quote on it. How cool is that? I can’t say anything about whether the tea is good, but I like the idea of coming across a quote like that with my breakfast. It makes me think that my mornings will feel a little bit more cultured 🙂