The word organic is thrown around often but most people are unaware what it actually means. The term is sometimes used by brands as a marketing gimmick to lure health-conscious people towards products that don’t even possess any organic characteristics in the first place. For the uninitiated, organic foods are those grown without the use of chemicals, hormones, pesticides or antibiotics. With the rising inclination towards healthier lifestyle among consumers, organic foods are now becoming exponentially popular.
If you are looking for organic products, you better know how to differentiate them from the conventional ones. Walk into any supermarket or grocery store and you will find all kinds of fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains and dairy products in attractive colors, shapes and sizes. While these may look tempting, they may not necessarily be organic.
How to Identify Organic Products?
People switching to organic products need to be mindful about some unique characteristics of organic foods. Listed below are a few signs to look out for the next time you go hunting for organic products:
1. Organic Foods come in varied Shapes and Sizes
It’s unlikely that you will find two organic fruits or vegetables exactly identical to each other. If all the fruits and vegetables look the exact same, it’s probably because they have been treated with some artificial chemicals to obtain that uniform look. While it may look really attractive on the grocery store shelves, they are definitely not organic.
Organically produced products will be different in color, shape and size. If you look around and observe nature, you will understand that fruits and vegetables naturally growing on trees differ in sizes and shapes. Even pulses and seeds grown organically will be seen in different shades of color. Conventional products clearly have a shiny but artificial look.
2. They are Comparatively Smaller in Size
Conventionally packed fruits, vegetables and grains are comparatively larger in size. It’s common for people to associate larger size with better quality. But larger size is most probably an outcome of heavy use of artificial fertilizers. Organic foods are not giant sized as they are produced using natural methods. If you are keen to buy organic, you can conveniently ignore the shelves with large sized products.
3. Organic Foods may have traces of Life
While it may not be a pleasant sight to spot small insects or worms in your fruits, vegetables or pulses, it’s actually a good sign indicating that the products are organic. Non-organic foods will have no traces of life since they are protected with strong chemicals. Insects or small microorganisms grow only in natural products and you can be rest assured that the chosen products are organic. Simply rinsing the fruits or vegetables before cooking will get rid of insects and residue.
4. Organic Food is tastier
Organic foods are much tastier in comparison to their conventional counterparts. As they are full of natural flavors, you won’t have to use them in large quantities to enhance the flavor which is most often the case with non organic products. Fruits are also sometimes artificially ripened in non-organic methods of farming, robbing them of their natural taste and flavor. Organically produced fruits, vegetables and spices are much tastier as they are packed with natural flavors.
5. They have a distinct flavor and aroma
Organic fruits, vegetables and spices have a strong and distinct aroma when compared to conventional products. Organic spices retain their oil content which is why they have a clear and pleasant natural aroma. Since non-organic spices are treated artificially, they are devoid of any oil content. One can easily understand the difference between organic and non-organic products by their fragrance and taste. Non-organic products go through several adulterated processes which rob them of their natural aroma. Not just spices, even fruits and vegetables like mangoes, oranges, ginger, and coriander smell better when they are organic
6. Organic food cooks faster
Organic food cooks faster than non-organic food as they don’t contain pesticides and artificial chemicals. The presence of pesticides contributes to longer cooking time as it makes the food considerably hard. If you notice that it takes much longer to get your food completely cooked, it’s a sign that you have bought a chemical-laden harvest.
7. They have less Shiny Appearance
Organic foods may look duller compared to non-organic foods. Most non-organic foods are polished, sprayed, primped and preened to make it look attractive. The next time you step out to buy organic, don’t fall for waxed and spray painted products. Buy fruits and vegetables that have a rustic, unfinished look as they are plucked directly from nature.
8. Certifications from Recognized Bodies
Verify whether the products are certified organic by recognized bodies. USDA Organic, Jaivik Bharat, Ecocert and India Organic are some of the certifications issued for sellers of organic products. These certifications indicate the products meet the specified quality standards and norms.
When buying products that claim to be organic, it’s also necessary to read the label. You need to ensure the label doesn’t mention any preservatives. From regular fruits and vegetables to seasonal fruits and exotic vegetables, all kinds of foods can be produced organically. Organic products are tastier and nutritious but may not look as attractive as non-organic foods. But unfortunately most people associate shiny and attractive appearance with better nutrition and taste.
Organic products, though they may look duller, are loaded with health benefits and promote healthy and clean eating. If you are switching to a healthier lifestyle, keep the above mentioned points in mind and purchase only the best organic products for yourself!