6 Tips for Buying Organic Food
In Mauritius, the demand for organic food and products rises every year. Indeed, more and more people are coming to realise the benefits of shifting to an organic diet and lifestyle. Where before you can only find organic food and products in specialty stores and markets, now there are organic groceries online. These online supermarkets make it easier for the average Mauritian to find quality organic food and pantry staples, among others.
For those who are planning to make the transition, here are some tips for buying organic food to help you get started:
Learn to Prioritise
The one downside of going organic is that organic foods are more expensive than traditional products and conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables. Thus, it’s impractical and impossible for a lot of people to switch to a largely organic diet. It’s good if you can, of course. If you can’t, however, remember that it’s not really necessary to buy everything organic. What’s more important is to educate yourself and learn how to prioritise.
For example, did you know that strawberries, spinach, kale, apples, grapes, and tomatoes are among the foods with the highest levels of pesticide residue? Therefore, it’s better to buy the organic counterparts of these fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, produce like avocados, pineapples, broccolis, and cabbage have lower traces of pesticides. Thus, these should be less of a priority in your organic shopping list.
Know Your Labels
Another thing you should educate yourself about is organic labeling. They follow a different standard compared to regular products. As a general rule, a product must contain 95% organically produced ingredients to be considered “organic.” Do note that water and salt are not considered “organically produced” ingredients.
Look for Discounts
As earlier mentioned, organic foods and products are more expensive. Thus, you will do your wallet a huge favour if you look for discounts when you shop organic. Take advantage of coupons and be on the lookout for sales and other forms of discounts. You may also want to buy in bulk, especially if you have a large family. You can also opt to preserve some of the organic fruits and vegetables you buy. Ideally, you should also stick to one grocery or online supermarket. Many of them offer discounts and rewards to loyal shoppers.
Check Organic Frozen Goods
Nothing compares to eating or cooking perfectly ripened and freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. However, not everyone has access to this type of organic produce. Indeed, there are times when buying frozen goods is the better or even the only option.
Don’t worry about freshness when buying frozen produce since they are also harvested at peak ripeness. They get blanched in hot water to kill bacteria before getting flash-frozen. The flash-freezing process helps preserve the nutritional content. Again, be on the lookout for bargains. You’ll find that frozen organic produce is more affordable than fresh ones.
If you’re new to buying organic products, you probably have a lot of questions about farming methods, certifications, and the like. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your local grocer or organic farmer will be more than willing to answer them. Showing your interest also indicates to grocers and farmers that you are interested in buying organic. In turn, your interest will give them more incentive to keep farming and selling such products.
Grow Your Own
We mentioned earlier that organic food is often more expensive. To save money, why not try growing your own organic produce? There are plenty of easy-to-grow fruits and vegetables that thrive even in small patches of land. Some examples include tomatoes and lettuce. In fact, you can even grow tomatoes in pots! Herbs are also perfect candidates for homegrown organics. Garlic is a brilliant vegetable to grow if you haven’t grown anything at home before. Garlic is used in most meals and is a simple plant to grow at home. The money you save can go toward increasing your budget for other organic and Earth-friendly products.
Remember that not everyone has the means to make the switch to an organic diet and lifestyle. Nevertheless, even the smallest changes will have positive effects in the long run. What’s more, starting small and being consistent about it can lead to bigger changes. Find the balance that suits your budget and needs. Sooner or later, you’ll be living a healthier, more environmentally friendly life.