Food wastage has reached epidemic proportions; most of the developed countries are at the forefront of this scourge. Half of this waste arises from #supermarkets and farms, whereas the other half come from homes which have thrown away the food as it is past its #expirationdate. But can we end up wasting fewer food items by employing a different approach to food expiration dates? Is older produce as good as the fresher stuff?

Studies have found that the rate at which #nutrientsinfreshproduce are lost, varies for plant to plant and from nutrient to nutrient, with environmental factors playing a central role. One of the key factors governing nutrient loss is the #rateofrespiration of the produce following the harvest; this is linked to the onset of deterioration of the produce. Once the harvested #agriculturalproduce reaches this point, unstable substances such as vitamin C are no longer replenished by the cells. That is why frozen peas are a better option as compared to canned or fresh peas.

Researchers agree that for every fruit and vegetable the rate of degradation of individual components differs, as it is a function of the plant life cycle; onions can be stored for months-on-end without losing any nutrients, apples can also retain nutrients for long durations, if stored at correct temperatures, tomatoes on the other hand are sensitive to low temperatures and lose flavor if refrigerated overnight.

Spinach loses nearly half of its folate content when stored in the fridge for eight days. On the flip side, broccoli stored at 4°C retains 80% of its vitamin C content even after three weeks of storage; carrots, exhibit far lower rates of vitamin C loss. And interestingly, #minerals don’t degrade; they would always be there.

Therefore, your eyes are the best judge of how nutritious a produce is. As long as the produce looks fresh, it probably is. Big loss of nutrients can be identified by spots or pale green or yellow color; #bestbeforedates or expiry dates can be overlooked.

Tags: , , , , ,