Talk about momentum! For over a decade now, the organic movement has been growing. Year after year, more of us are choosing organic products in support of the environment, farmers and their families, and our own health and well being. Whether you're a newcomer or a devotee, here are some tips for cooking with organics.
Read and understand labels
"Natural" does not mean organic! Look for the "USDA organic certified" label, which guarantees that the item has met standards set by the federal government. These standards ensure the product was produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertlizers, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation. Clean methods of production maintain healthy soil and farmland and keep potentially unhealthy ingredients out of your food.
Know which produce to buy organic
If you can't or don't wish to purchase all organic product, buy organic fruits and vegetables that are msot likely to contain pesticide residues. Or if you're able to grow any of these fruits and vegetables yourself, consider that! According to the "Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce," which is based on testing by the USDA, the furits and vegetables you should consider buying organic are: apples, blueberries, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, peaches, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers and tomatoes.
Cook with organic ingredients
As much as possible, cook with organic ingredients — fruits and vegetables, legumes, eggs, etc. — and add robust flavor to your food with organic spices and seasonings. Organic spices and seasonings offer not only the benefits of organic, but also great quility and robust flavor. They also last a while and can be used to bring life to a variety of meals!
Look beyond organic
Consider identifying companies that go beyond bringing organic product to market and invest parts of your purchase into organic farming research or development projects for farmers and their communites. Each purchase decision you make can impact the direction of our food system.