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Professional chef demonstrates the science behind his 'magic' pesticide removal hack: 'This is really good to know'

Adding this simple step to your routine can help decrease pesticide exposure while you still enjoy your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Surface pesticides removal hack:

Photo Credit: @cooksillustrated / Instagram

If you want to enjoy fresh produce without any lingering pesticides, one chef has a hack to remove them — and he has the science to prove it. 

The scoop

In a viral Instagram Reel, Eric Haessler from Cook's Illustrated (@cooksillustrated) shared the best hack to remove surface pesticides from fruits and vegetables.

"We found one magic ingredient that does the trick on surface pesticides: baking soda," Haessler says in the clip. 

Compared to a solution with vinegar and one with a water rinse, baking soda was the most effective at removing surface pesticides from grapes. Haessler soaked grapes in all three solutions, using test cards to detect two common external pesticides.

The baking soda solution was the only ingredient to turn the test strips blue, meaning the solution extracted pesticides. 

Many surface pesticides are unstable at an alkaline pH. Haessler said mixing baking soda and water creates an alkaline environment that breaks down pesticides' compounds and helps wash them away. 

All you need to do is mix two teaspoons of baking soda per quart of water and soak your produce for 30 seconds.

How it's helping

In the United States, about 75% of nonorganic produce has residual pesticides that are potentially harmful to our health. While buying organic produce is the best way to avoid pesticides, this hack can help reduce exposure if organic products are outside your budget. 

Baking soda has been scientifically proved to reduce pesticide exposure if applied to fresh produce, especially compared to other cleansing methods.

Some pesticides have been connected with health issues, including miscarriages, birth defects, and developmental disabilities in children. Adding this simple step to your routine can help decrease pesticide exposure while still enjoying your favorite fruits and vegetables

Additionally, baking soda is an environmentally friendly tool to clean produce instead of commercial produce washes. Cleaning products often contain chemicals that can endanger the environment when washed down household drains and into waterways. 

What everyone's saying 

Fellow Instagram users were surprised by Haessler's experiment and thanked him for sharing his findings. 

"This is really good to know," one user wrote. "I will stock up on baking soda!"

Another Instagrammer said: "We love baking soda. Name another ingredient with this range."

"This is the best video that has explained the need for washing with baking soda. Thank you," another user added. 

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