A majority of people believe that there’s no difference between organic food and conventionally grown food. However, if we take the definitions of organic and conventionally grown foods into consideration, the difference is quite clear.
Organic foods can be referred to as those foods which are grown without the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators, genetic engineering, irradiation, livestock feed additives or other drugs. Organic foods can include fruits, vegetables, grains, eggs, and to some extent, meats and poultry.
On the other hand, conventionally grown is a term referring to a method of growing edible plants (such as fruit and vegetables) and other products. Conventionally grown products often use man-made fertilisers, pesticides or additives which allow for higher yield, out of season growth, greater longevity and greater mass.
Conventionally grown products have a devastating effect on the environment. Moreover, the residues of the chemicals in food products have dubious effects on human health. Although there is little evidence about people getting ill from conventionally grown foods, it is important to be aware, as the effects of these chemicals in the long term remain unknown.
So, in order to know how to get about choosing right, here are seven simple ways which can help you identify whether the food you are picking up is organic or not:
The size of the product:
Organically produced fruits, vegetables or grains are comparatively smaller in size than the conventional ones. So, while you can show some signs of a surprise after seeing a huge potato, tomato or an apple, it is better you don’t transfer them to your plates. However, there are some special cases where people organically produce large size fruits and vegetables as well, but they are difficult to find.
Your sense of smell:
The aroma of organically produced fruits and vegetables is totally different. In fact, it is very potent. While it is easy to distinguish the smells of produce like bananas and coriander, which have a strong aroma; the same is not possible with uncut apples. Choose a produce that has a fragrant smell, for example, fresh in case of melons, and earthy in the case of potatoes. Produce that has no smell or smells like its packaging, is not the best option. This is probably one of the most important tests for checking the freshness of produce, yet it is a skill that takes some time to develop.
The appearance of the Product:
No two naturally or organically grown fruits or vegetables can look identical. It’s almost impossible to find two organically produced fruits which look absolutely alike. Each apple, mango, potato, cabbage or even grain will always look different from another. Their colour, shape and structure will never be the same.
Your sense of touch:
This is another test which can be taken into consideration while checking an organic fruit or vegetable. Here ‘firm’ is the important word. Apples, tomatoes, bananas and cabbage are all better when they are firm. Fruits like pears should be tender to the touch, whereas leafy vegetables should be crisp and springy to the touch. Watermelons, muskmelons, pumpkins and other watery veggies like bottle gourd should ideally be heavy.
Taste of the product:
Organic and natural fruits and vegetables are tastier than conventional. When you cook organic vegetables, you will realise that you need fewer spices as there is so much natural flavour. Similarly, organic fruits are juicier as they are allowed to ripen on the tree. Otherwise, fruits are usually plucked when green and then fertilised to ripen and increase shelf life.
It’s a known fact that organic fruits and vegetables degenerate faster than the conventionally produced fruits and vegetables. Their shelf life can be increased if they are stored and preserved in refrigerators.
Although it is not a convention in India, some fruits and vegetables do land up in a market with a labelled sticker on them that can be checked. Read the label and check for any preservatives present in the product.
Whether inspired by benefits to their own health, or the health of the environment left to future generations, or any of a number of other motivating factors, a meticulous consumer who cares about the benefits of organic agriculture will buy organic whenever possible.
Wondering where can you buy organic food in Nagpur? You can now head over to My Green Mart to buy organic, exotic and non-GM (genetically modified) products online.
Additionally, you can also visit the MyGreen Mart retail outlet at Shop No B-7, Jaidev Apartment, Gondwana Square, Byramji Town, Nagpur and pick your own assured organic groceries.
Title image: pixabay