Find out which fruits and vegetables rank highest in pesticide residues. (Hint: apples top the list.)

Which Fruits and Vegetables are Most Important to Buy Organic?

You’ve probably read in the news and heard some health experts say that it’s best to buy organic produce. But there’s no getting around the fact that organic fruits and vegetables can be considerably pricier, and not everyone’s budget has room for the added expense.

A good solution is to pick and choose which items you buy organic, prioritizing those shown by research to contain the most pesticide residues. Every year, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiles a list called the Dirty Dozen, ranking produce by how much pesticide residue was found in testing. Here’s the 2015 list:

  1. Apples (highest ranked year after year for pesticide residues)
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap peas
  12. Potatoes

In past years, domestic blueberries, kale, and collard greens have all made the list in place of a few of these, and the EWG also warns about conventionally grown hot peppers. On the other end of the spectrum, you can save some money by going conventional with the EWG’s Clean 15. Here’s a list of those fruits and veggies, which contain the fewest pesticide residues:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangos
  9. Papaya
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Canteloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet Potatoes

In past years, watermelon and mushrooms have also made the Clean 15 list, so they’re probably on the safer side as well.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.