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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Is Organic Food Worth It?

Frugal Kitchens 101

Organic has become the new buzzword in food over the past decade.  The reality is well before organic became a marketing buzzword, many recognized the importance of eating organically produced foods. Organic foods cost more because they are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.  The use of machinery is kept to a bare minimum to avoid contaminating the soil and in fact to be certified organic in some areas machinery cannot be used on the farms where the produce is grown.  Produce grown organically is more labour intensive and subject to a lower yield due to loss through plant diseases and insect damage.  Organic foods tend to be higher priced as a direct result of growing organically.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 addresses the issue of whether organic food is worth the extra cost.

Organic produce is free from synthetic pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer residues and are not genetically modified (GMO).  Organic meat products are free of animal by-product feed, antibiotics and hormones.  There has been a growing concern as to the negative side effects these residues have on the body.  It is better to avoid consuming them.  There are twelve produce items known as the dirty dozen.  These items have thin skin with no protective layer so synthetic residues can penetrate through the entire fruit or vegetable.  They are: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, grapes, pears, spinach and potatoes1.  These fruits and vegetables should always be purchased organic.  There are 15 fruits and vegetables that are known as the clean 15.  These fruits and vegetables have a thicker skin or protective layer that prevents synthetic pesticides and fertilizers from penetrating the entire food.  They are: onion, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mangos, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato and honeydew melon2.

In my opinion the price of organic food is worth.  How do you find organic produce and other foods?  There are several available sources for organic foods.  They include:

  • Grow an organic garden yourself and extend that growing greens, herbs and other fruits and vegetables indoor through the winter months.
  • Shop organic fruit and vegetable stands for fresh produce.
  • Take advantage of organic U-picks where picking the produce yourself is cheaper.
  • Organic is the marketing buzzword so many grocery stores now have an organic foods aisle for dried (flours, cereals, grains, pastas), canned (fruits, vegetables, condiments) and bottled (fruits, vegetables, juices) foods.  Quite often organic produce is marked with some type of sign in the produce section however if it isn't check the little produce code stickers.  If the number starts with a 9 it is organic. 
  • Shop specialty stores (bulk food stores, health food stores) for dried foods like cereals and grains.  Some health food stores also carry refrigerator items.
  • Buy local honey directly from the beekeeper.
  • Buy organic meats directly from a farmer that raises organically or buy certified organic meats in the grocery store.  Buy organic, free range chickens and eggs again either directly from the farmer or certified in the grocery stores.  In some municipalities it is possible to raise your own backyard chickens giving you a good source of fresh organic eggs.
  • Many organic items such as jams, jellies, herbs, cheeses, seafood and much more can be ordered online and delivered right to your door.
  • Ask at the health food store and organic stands where to find other organic growers in your area. 
  • Do a Google search for organic growers in your area.


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