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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Strawberry Fields Forever...New Technology Keeps Fruit Fresh


Yes we all love our fruits and at the high price we pay, wish they would last forever, or at least until we finish eating them. I am a quick consumer of what is good, but in case something escapes my eye level,  it may languish for a few days in the fridge. Now, according to the latest science, I can preserve strawberries in my refrigerator for 9 days, as long as they are bathed in an UV-LED light.

Researcher Steven Britz will present his work: "Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to Maintain Freshness and Phytochemical Composition During Postharvest Storage" at the CLEO , Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics,  in San Jose, CA, Thursday, June 13, 2013. In his experiments he shows that " low irradiance ultra-violet (UV) light directed at strawberries over long exposure periods at low temperature and very high humidity—typical home refrigerator conditions—delays spoilage." His technique prevents the extreme dryness caused by traditional LED light.

“These findings are expected to have a major impact on the appliance business to extend the shelf life and preserve nutritional value of fresh produce while reducing waste and saving money for every household,” states Remis Gaska, president and CEO of SETi.

Of course others have less scientific work-arounds that you can use now.  Eric Meyerson, credentials unknown but a high page rank on Google for "keep strawberries fresh longer,"  published a well rehearsed about keeping strawberries fresh.  His solution is to put your strawberries in a plastic container in the refrigerator, unwashed and layered between paper towels. The same idea was authored by many others. It may be that this easy approach requiring such old favorites as Tupperware and paper towels will win over low irradiance ultra-violet light for people with older refrigerators.

Luckily for me I am re-doing my kitchen. Maybe by the time I am ready to install appliances, there will be a refrigerator I can purchase that will provide UV-LED light to my strawberries. The work of scientist Steven Britz is sure to have commercial applications. But I do have some concerns. I think my milk likes it dark.

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