Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
Organic produce is difficult to find and extremely expensive in the area I live. Is it possible to clean off chemicals on vegetables that aren’t organic?
A: The surface pesticides and residues of chemicals can be washed with appropriate methods. Personally, I like to soak my vegetables in a large pot of cold water for 30 minutes; then I put them in a colander and rinse under running water for several minutes. This can help remove most of the surface residues.
The problem with inorganic vegetables is that when chemicals, pesticides, and inorganic fertilizers are used, the chemicals are absorbed through the roots into the cells of the vegetables and these cannot be cleaned or washed off. Do your best to seek out a health food store or local market that sells organic produce.