We’re in a time in which being picky isn’t exactly an option when shopping for many items at the grocery store.
As you’ve recently perused the produce area at your store, did you happen to notice any fruits or vegetables that said “hydroponically grown?” They just kind of popped up one day, and we noticed there wasn’t much explanation.
If you’re anything like us, you may have bypassed it simply because you were unsure about what a hydroponically grown product is. But now is as good a time as any to educate yourself.
As it turns out, unless you’re attempting to try this growing process yourself (spoiler alert: it can be tricky), the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages.
How it works
The fruits or vegetables are grown in a liquid solution that contains minerals they need to thrive. There is no soil used, and instead, the root system is supported by a medium such as perlite, rockwool, clay pellets, peat moss or vermiculite, according to Full Bloom Hydroponics. Doing so allows the plant roots to have direct contact with the nutrient solution, as well as access to oxygen.
The process allows the plant to not work as hard to obtain the nutrients, therefore allowing it to mature 25% faster and produce up to 30% more than the same plant growing in soil.
Growing plants hydroponically also uses less water than soil-based produce because the system is enclosed, preventing much evaporation.
Is hydroponically grown produce good for you?
Because hydroponic fruits and vegetables are not exposed to outdoor elements, they do not need the same level of pesticides to protect the plants from insects or pathogens, according to LiveStrong.com. This often allows organic farming methods.
This is good news, but there does seem to be a possible drawback to hydronic produce. Because of the high humidity of the greenhouses, the produce can be more susceptible to salmonella contamination. However, washing and cooking vegetables thoroughly should remove and help destroy any possible salmonella.
LiveStrong made a special note to remind consumers that even though hydroponic farming appeals to some because of environmental concerns, any diet high in vegetables can improve health, regardless of whether it was grown conventionally or hydroponically.
This story was first published in 2019. It has since been updated.
Have you tried hydroponically grown produce? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comment section below.