Organic vs. Conventional… Should I Only Juice Organic Produce?

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Is It Ok To Juice Conventional Produce?

There are a handful of questions that I get asked frequently when people start thinking about incorporating juicing into their lifestyle.

  • What’s the best juicer?
  • How much time will it take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • And finally, do I have to buy ONLY organic produce for juicing?

In this article, I’ll address the organic vs. conventional question. I address the juicer question HERE. I cover the time question HERE. And I explain all about cost and how to juice cost-effectively HERE.

What’s The Problem With Juicing Non-Organic?

We get so many benefits from juicing. One of the main benefits is great nutrition! We are concentrating all the amazing parts of fruits, veggies, herbs, and greens into an easy-to-consume, easily digestible beverage. That’s a win-win scenario, right?

organic vs conventional
Photo by Rayia Soderberg

One potential downside, though, is that we may also be concentrating harmful herbicide and pesticide residues that are present on the produce. One of our goals with juicing is to remove as many toxins that are stored in our bodies as possible. It should also be a goal to put no more toxins back into our system. Although it is nearly impossible in the modern world to completely eliminate coming into contact with chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides, buying organic is one way to help with this.

Organic Cost & Availability

Organic produce has become more readily available in recent years and the pricing has even come down as well. If you have the financial capability to purchase organic produce when juicing, I recommend making it a priority. See my article on top tips to save money on produce. These techniques apply to organic produce as well as conventional.

If the organic produce cost is a bit too much in your area or the quality of the organic doesn’t look that great, I recommend buying the conventional produce regardless with some caveats. Remember that juicing is still providing you with all the benefits of increased fruit and vegetable nutrition. Juicing conventional fruits and veggies will be better than not juicing at all.

grocery store produce section
Photo by Kenny Eliason

Have No Fear! We’ll Prioritize!

Can’t find the organic you’re looking for? That’s OK! In order to get the best of both worlds, depending on your financial situation and organic produce availability, there is an option. This option involves taking a look at the Dirty Dozen list and the Clean 15 list. These lists are compiled by the Environmental Working Group and consist of 12 of the most highly chemically sprayed fruits and veggies as well as the 15 least sprayed fruits and veggies. These lists can better help us decide whether to buy organic or conventional if given the choice.

Quite a few of the fruits & vegetables that are excellent for healthy juicing are on the Dirty Dozen list. So opt for organic on these 12 items if they are available to you. By doing so you will be reducing the amount of chemical residues you consume tremendously.

Here is the Dirty Dozen list:

Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Peaches
  7. Grapes
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Conversely, if your options for organic are limited, the organic produce quality doesn’t look great or the organic price is astronomical, you can focus on getting items to juice from the Clean 15 list.

Here is the Clean 15 list:

Clean 15

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Frozen Peas
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupe
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew Melons
  15. Kiwi

There are some items on the Clean 15 list that we typically wouldn’t juice, i.e. mushrooms or avocados. However, there are several items that are great to juice, i.e. pineapple, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, and kiwi.

Photo by Alice Pasqual

So how can these two lists help us make a decision when we’re shopping? As an example, let’s say you went to the grocery store with your heart set on getting some grapes for an amazing grape juice – coconut water – lemon juice blend. You get to the grape section and you see that the organic grapes are incredibly overpriced or the quality just doesn’t look that great. You can skip the grapes, which are on the Dirty Dozen list, and opt for some honeydew melons which are on the Clean 15 list. The melons will also make an amazing combination with coconut water and lemon juice. Also, it makes a super awesome juice all by itself!

What If All I Can Find Is Non-Organic?

If purchasing non-organic produce is your only option, there is a technique we can use to remove as much chemical residue as possible. The best way that I have found to clean residue off of conventional produce is with a baking soda water soak.

Here is the recipe I use to make the baking soda soaking solution:

Baking Soda Soaking Solution For Conventional Produce:

  1. Mix baking soda at a ratio of 1 Tablespoon per 32 oz ( 1 liter ) of water and soak your fruits and veggies for 12-15 minutes.
  2. Rinse well with filtered tap water.

There has been some research that has shown that this is the most effective way to eliminate the most amount of residue possible on your produce.

This is also a great way to clean organic produce as well. I find that by doing a soak, rinse, pat dry, and then storing in reusable plastic containers or bags, all produce will keep much longer. This will help prevent spoilage before you get a chance to juice your valuable produce.

Absolute Certainty

One great way to ensure that you are juicing chemical-free produce is to grow your own. With a little practice and not too much room in your yard, balcony or window sills, you can grow a lot of produce! It’s pretty easy to grow greens and herbs, especially without a lot of space or gardening skills. By growing your own, you’ll be 100% certain that harmful chemicals were used on the produce.

Photo by <strong>Karolina Grabowska<strong>

Another great way is to find a local produce farmer that utilizes organic growing methods. A great place to find them is at your local farmer’s market. Take the opportunity to get to know them. Perhaps they are looking for an occasional weekend volunteer? Sometimes they will even trade you fresh produce for helping them out in their market gardens!

Final Thoughts

That was a crash course in selecting organic vs. conventional produce! Do your best and get organic when you can. But remember that juicing conventional produce is better than not juicing at all. Work on making as many connections as you can for finding organic produce; be it with local growers, farmer’s markets, produce wholesalers or buying clubs. The more you investigate sources of organic in your area, the more it will come into your life. Also, get to work on that backyard or balcony garden of your own. There is nothing better than making fresh beet juice with beets that you have grown in your garden!

Photo by Ryan Ancill

What has been your experience with finding organic produce in your area? Let me know in the comment section and Stay Juicy!

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About the Author

Brett leads the Juicer Test Kitchen. Utilizing his 25 years in the juice production and formulation industry, he brings you expert information on the wide world of juicing. From hands-on juicer reviews, tasty juice recipes, and real-world insights, he helps you get the most out of your juicing experience.

Brett not only has a career background in the juice world, but he is also a lifelong juicing advocate who has personally transformed and maintained his health using the magical powers of juicing and raw living foods.



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