Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eythlene gas is a natural product all fruits produce to help their ripening process. The problem is it never turns itself off and eventually this natural process will also aid in the overripe stage of fruit too. This is a major reason why bananas can ripen so quickly or sometimes never ripen at all. Bananas are gassed and then shipped to supermarkets and if the plastic bag that envelops the fruit isn't removed at the right stage it will reduce their shelf life or hamper the ripening process.

To extend the shelf life of your produce you should not store ripe fruit in plastic bags. Your produce can deteriorate as much as 50% faster. I live in a dry climate so it's quite common for my fruit to get wrinkled and soft if I leave it on my counter. The solution in this case is to store the fruit in a plastic bag but by punching pencil-sized holes in the bag I'm allowing the ethylene gas to escape and preventing the fruit from over maturing and drying out quickly.

Of course if you need to speed up the ripening process I would put the fruit in two plastic bags (one inside the other) and tie the end. It wouldn't hurt to add an apple into your bag of fruit because this fruit produces an extremely high amount of ethylene gas. Remember to check the bag daily and once the fruit has ripened to your satisfaction to remove it from the plastic bags. This post especially applies to tomatoes too.

I would also recommend punching a few pencil-sized holes in your veggies bags too, you will notice your produce lasts longer in your fridge.

Grocery chains have ethylene gas scrubbers in their coolers to extend the storage life of their produce. Displaying cut flowers by fruit especially apples, as I stated in an earlier post will kill any life left in the flowers. It's an oxymoran that floral and produce departments are usually located side by side. This has been changing as the dinosaur finally comes to that realization and adapts by separating the two depts.


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