Friday, November 30, 2007

Long-Life Berries

I’ve always thought of raspberries as being very fragile, needing to be consumed soon after they are purchased. In fact I’ve picked many a moldy berry out of a new box.

That’s why I can’t figure out how these berries purchased at Costco a week ago can look exactly as they did the day I bought them. There were no moldy or even mushy berries in that container and they were all perfect – and still are.

They are from Argentina, which means it could have been days after they were picked that they arrived at Costco. I’m always slightly distrustful of fruit from Chile and Argentina, having seen how it was handled out in the countryside 25 years ago. But perhaps something has changed.

This box of berries has adorned my Cheerios for the past week and may likely last another few days. Then I will be back at Costco fighting the growing crowd of Christmas shoppers to buy more berries and the myriad of other family-sized containers of things I seem to buy there.

Can anyone explain to me what they can possibly do to berries in Argentina to give them everlasting life?


Blogger Kristin said...

I have no idea, but I do love raspberries. I'm a little green with envy at your cereal topping.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

I find various fruits, especially berries and grapes, last longer when washed before storing in the fridge. Of course, this is all anecdotal as I have not actually done any rigorous testing.

Perhaps they had been washed before leaving Argentina?

12:25 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- Cheerios are so uninteresting on their own, you have to add something to compensate for the lack of sugar. At Costco's prices for both the Cheerios and the raspberries, it's a bargain breakfast!

Richard -- My experience has been that when you wash fruit it gets mushy. So I seldom wash any berries at all (don't tell my guests).

12:37 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

I am a huge raspberry fan- I also consume them just about every day- I hate to think about what they may be doing to the berries prior to getting them to market. I try to go organic as often as possible to prevent pesticide or, GASP, steroids being used in the fruit.
I just threw out a whole darn box of raspberries after one day, though. But, that's the price of going organic, I guess.

And I NEVER wash raspberries...blueberries, maybe, but never raspberries (or mushrooms- but that's another post)

12:58 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gewels -- I doubt too many organic raspberries are grown in Argentina.

I prefer to wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel as opposed to running them under water, just to remove the traces of that black stuff they are grown in (let's not even think of what it is).

1:37 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I wash them -just running them under cold water and then store them in the fridge.

I peel my mushrooms. This might be a East European thing. I was shocked when a friend of mine (Canadian, but of Japanese descent) just chopped up mushrooms into a salad. I asked her roommate (a Canadian of East European anscestry) if she peeled mushrooms and she said yes.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- Peeling a mushroom sounds like a laborious job to me! Although if they really are grown in manure, it's probably a good idea.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:31 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

I also peel mushrooms! Most people I know think I'm crazy for doing it. But, it's kind of a soothing task. It can be very zen.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gewels -- When we all get together to cook, we will definitely put you and Richard on mushroom detail! Now what will we give Steve to do?!

11:34 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Fruits and Veges give off Ethylene Gas as they ripen. some give off more than others, and if they are bruised or handled improperly the amount of this gas is increased. (like maybe a particular pallet sat on a dock a little longer than the others, or maybe they were harvested on a Particulrly warm day)

Ethylene’s role as a ripening agent for fruits and vegetables is a double-edged sword. Besides being the “ripening hormone”, ethylene is also known as the “death hormone”. Its role in the ripening process does not stop when you may want it to. As long as the ethylene is present in the atmosphere around produce the accelerated aging, even to the point of molding, continues.

Raspberries, Strawberries and blueberrys are problems becauuse they cannot be waxed like Apples and such; they are easily briused,
thats why you don't want to wash them until service time. In fact, I don't think we washed raspberries at all.
Its not that the Produce companies are treating the fruit with a chemical; they have to keep good control of the ethylene in the atmosphere as fruits ripen.

grapes are an exception- they do treat Grapes with a fungicide before shipping. I think it has to do with them still being on the stem. ALWAYS wash your grapes.

I'll be in charge ofn the Knife work. Don't let me near a stove. I'll burn your pans up.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Carcinogenic preservatives ... that's what makes raspberries last so long. Yikes!

8:44 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- You are such a font of knowledge. I will now be washing my grapes!

Reya -- I hope I don't die of raspberry cancer!

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, this is such an informative comment section ...... i just keep seeing the image of Ame'lie in the movie Ame'lie as a child with a raspberry stuck on the end of each finger as she begins to eat and suck them off of her fingers, one by one ...

Now THAT is a true lover of raspberries! I like them on my oatmeal along with blueberries, roasted almond slices, a splash of cream and brown sugar...



11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there fellow berry lovers... I just purchased a whole huge container of Argentinian blueberries from Costco that have little or no flavor and they look like they are of a different varietal...maybe even altered ...usually blueberries taste delightful...these are not and are going to be returned to Costco immediately!! I will gladly pay more for a tastier and healthier berry So much for quantity, rather than quality..attaberry

1:32 PM  

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