Whether you choose to buy organic or not, strawberries are safe to eat. Find out why it’s okay to eat non-organic strawberries and get inspired to enjoy this delicious berry with over 40 nutritious and delicious strawberry recipes!
“Is it worth it and necessary to buy organic fruits and vegetables?” That’s one of the top five questions I get asked by friends, family, and those of you who read my blog and engage with me on social media. My answer has always been the same: If you can afford organic, it’s available to you, and that’s your preference, buy organic. However, there is no significant difference between organic and conventional produce from a nutritional or safety standpoint, so if it’s beyond your budget, I’d rather see you eat regular, conventional, non-organic fruit and vegetables than not eat any fruit and vegetables at all.
Personally, I don’t buy organic fruit and vegetables unless it’s what’s on sale at the supermarket. I rinse my produce well before serving it, but even if my kids sneak a grape or take a bite of their apple before I get to wash it I don’t freak out.
So I was really surprised by the uproar that went on in the media a few months ago when the Environmental Working Group moved strawberries to the top of their Dirty Dozen list for 2016. I mean I shouldn’t be surprised by the media frenzy that comes along with news like this, but if you look at the actual statistics on pesticides in organic vs. non-organic produce you will see that there’s really no reason to get in a tizzy and stop eating conventional strawberries, or any fruit or vegetable for that matter.
Why It’s Okay to Eat Non-Organic Strawberries
A 2011 study in the Journal of Toxicology found that exposure to pesticides on produce from the Dirty Dozen list pose negligible risks, substituting organic for conventional doesn’t result in any appreciable risk reduction, and the EWG’s methods for ranking produce lacks scientific credibility. This study also found that the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program indicated that 23% of organic food samples tested positive for pesticide residues. So are you really better off with organic produce?!
A more recent 2015 study looked at updated estimates of dietary exposure to pesticides in the U.S. using the most recent findings from the FDA’s Total Diet Study. They found that chronic exposure to pesticides in the diet is at levels far below those of health concern. The author’s conclusion was very similar to my own answer above – “consumers should be encouraged to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains and should not fear the low level of pesticide residues found in such foods.”
Back to our sweet, beautiful, antioxidant-rich strawberries. I spoke with Teresa Thorne from the Alliance for Food and Farming, who reaffirmed that “both organic and conventionally grown strawberries are very safe and can be eaten with confidence. Here’s why: an analysis by a University of California toxicologist found that a child could literally eat 1,508 servings of conventionally-grown strawberries in a day and still not have any effects from pesticide residues. That is how low residues are, if present at all.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any adult, let alone child, who could eat that many strawberries in a day (and my kids eat A LOT!).
All that is to say, let’s focus on getting the nutrients from our fruits and veggies and stop letting fear get in the way. And let’s get to this amazing compilation of strawberry recipes from my fellow registered dietitians and healthy food bloggers. (You may even want to include some of these in your healthy and delicious barbecue this July 4th weekend!) Whether you choose to make them with organic or non-organic strawberries, the choice is yours. But you can feel confident that you and your family will be safe either way!
Nutritious and Delicious Strawberry Recipes
Peanut Butter Parfait with Amaranth @ Shaw’s Simple Swaps
Vegan Strawberry Scones @ fANNEtastic Food
Irresistible Quinoa Breakfast Cereal @ Nourish. Breathe. Thrive.
Strawberry Kefir Smoothie @ Jessica Levinson
Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins @ Marisa Moore Nutrition
Strawberry Pluot Oatmeal @ The Fresh Beet
Sunflower Seed Butter and Strawberry Wafflewich @ Holley Grainger Nutrition
Fresh Strawberry Chia Baked Oatmeal Pie @ The Spicy RD
Salads, Snacks, Sauces, & Sides
Mustard Greens Summer Salad with Yogurt Honey Mustard Vinaigrette @ Bucket List Tummy
Strawberry Salad with Feta @ Dana White Nutrition
Barbi Salad (Strawberry Grilled Chicken Salad) @ Lively Table
Strawberry-Mango Salsa @ Holley Grainger Nutrition
Strawberry Basil Crostini with Balsamic Reduction @ Homemade Nutrition
Strawberry, Peach, and Goat Cheese Bites @ Chelsea’s Choices
Kale and Strawberry Salad with Kefir Buttermilk Dressing @ The Foodie Dietitian
Strawberry Lemon Taragon Sauce @ The Spicy RD
Strawberry Salad Dressing @ Living Well Kitchen
Strawberry Lemon Popy Seed Dressing @ Prep Dish
Strawberry Chia Seed Jam @ Snacking In Sneakers
Strawberry Pretzel Chicken Wraps @ Sweet Cayenne
Roasted Cod with Strawberries @ Nourish. Breathe. Thrive.
Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese @ Healthy Aperture
Lemon Ricotta Ravioli with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries @ Jessica Levinson
Balsamic Chicken, Strawberry and Beet Kabobs @ My Menu Pal
Strawberry Cambozola Grilled Cheese @ Living Well Kitchen
Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette @ Healthy Aperture
3-Ingredient Strawberry Nice Cream @ Smart Nutrition
Strawberry-Mango Pudding with Chia Seeds @ GoWin Nutrition
Strawberry Kiwi Cashew Cream Parfait @ Chard in Charge
Vegan Roasted Strawberries with Coconut Whipped Cream @ Marisa Moore Nutrition
Strawberry Ginger Beet Sorbet @ Lively Table
Strawberry Basil Tarts @ Live Best
Chocolate Strawberry German Pancakes @ Your Choice Nutrition
Strawberry Mousse Parfait @ Jessica Levinson
No-Bake Strawberry Pie @ Chocolate Slopes
Strawberry-Rhubarb Mimosas @ Jessica Levinson
Strawberry Banana Smoothie @ Kiss in the Kitchen
Berry Almond Cocoa Smoothie @ Amy Gorin Nutrition
Spicy Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas @ Jessica Levinson
Strawberry Basil Lemonade @ The Spicy RD
Dark Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie @ Jessica Levinson
Strawberry Coconut Lassi @ The Foodie Physician
Do you feel it’s okay to eat non-organic strawberries or other produce?
Do you have a favorite strawberry recipe?
Share with me in the comments below!