Many of us consume organic food, as we believe they are healthier and better for our health. But do we know what the term “organic” actually means and how to preserve it?
This article will investigate the world of organic foods, analyze their differences concerning conventional foods, and bring some tips to preserve them.
The discussion around the nutritional value of organic foods presents controversial positions. While some argue that organic foods carry a higher concentration of nutrients, others, like Crystal Smith-Spangler et al, authors of the study: Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? argue that it is not possible to affirm the superiority of organic foods’ nutritional values over conventional ones.
In the study mentioned above (2012), the authors concluded that “The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods”.
However, other researchers like Walter J Crinnion, Professor of the Environmental Medicine Program, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, argue that multiple studies show that organic varieties provide significantly higher levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus than non-organic types of the same foods.
The researcher, who is specialized in treating chronic diseases caused by the toxic environmental burden, points out that the results of different studies analyzing the nutritional values of organic foods vary widely. Several factors contribute to this variation: the weather (which affects crops year on year), soil condition, and other specific environmental conditions (microclimates).
In any case, both studies mentioned maintain that “consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria” (Crystal Smith-Spangler et all). However, as we have seen, this level of exposure may be higher or lower, depending on the factors mentioned by Walter J Crinnion.
Next, we will take a closer look at the controversial issue of abstaining or reducing pesticides and chemicals in organic foods.
Pesticide and chemical levels
In foods grown using organic methods, the use of synthetic pesticides is not allowed.
According to Leslie A. Duram, Professor of Geography and Environmental Resources and Director of Environmental Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, ” Organic food is grown without synthetic chemicals, such as human-made pesticides and fertilizers, and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”
However, organic foods may be subject to natural pesticides, which do not fail to offer a particular health risk depending on the amount applied.
Despite the ban on synthetic pesticides, organic foods may be subject to them in indirect ways. Walter J Crinnion, explains that the exposure can occur through the previous use of chemicals that remained in the soil where organic foods were planted “and from compounds that percolate through the soil”.
Regarding the soil conditions, the author draws attention to the necessary analysis of the period in which each soil was worked using organic methods. Years of work are needed to reduce the persistent pollutants on the ground and build quality soils using only organic practices.
The researcher also points out that when not grow under a cover, organic farms are also subject to exposure from pesticides drifted from neighboring farms and global transport of chemicals.
Concerning raising animals using organic methods, Mona Elena Popa et all; explain that organic compared to conventional farming, animals receive low amounts of concentrated feed.
Although scientific studies can present different results, most of the positions are in the sense that organic foods have more benefits for human health than conventional foods due to the higher nutritional levels or the elimination or reduction of pesticides and chemicals.
The fact is that to maintain a healthy diet. It is essential to consume a certain amount of fruits and vegetables every day. However, not all of us have access to fresh harvest, which leads us to the need to store them properly to last longer. Below you will find some tips.
Tips for storing organic food and avoiding waste
In addition to informing about the nutritional benefits of organic foods from a scientific and well-founded perspective, we investigate ways of storing these foods to make them last longer and avoid waste.
We asked for help from Linkedin group members. They brought valuable insights. Bellow, you will find some tips from Slow Food Linkedin group members.
Most have told us that they have no problems with the duration of organic foods in their refrigerators. Marianne (Schober) Quelle reported that: We have no “problem” with our fridge and there are only organic legumes and fruits inside. They stay fresh for a very long time. 😉
To avoid waste Alison Shakspeareuses glass jars to produce a lot of jams and pickles. For those who want to make their fruits and vegetables last longer, she recommends: What I would say is: don’t attempt shortcuts if you want stuff to last; invest in a good thermometer and keep an eye out for great recipes.
Other respondents recommend fermenting highlighting the added nutritional value
We want to thank everyone who contributed to the writing of this article!
For those who are a fan of healthy fruits and vegetables, Hello-Bottle offers Pearl Jars that can be used to prepare delicious and practical meals or to ferment fruits and vegetables.
Share your knowledge with us! Leave in the comments about how you conserve fruits and vegetables to avoid waste and make them last longer!