The Weekly Waste Word: Bagged Produce

As you might have guessed, I’m not a big fan of washed and cut produce. Sure, it’s convenient and has its uses, but for the most part it breaks down quicker than the uncut version because it exposes more of the fruit or vegetable to oxidation. It also further removes us from the idea that produce is grown and don’t just magically appear on your grocer’s shelves as broccoli florets. But I digress.

bags-in-dumpster-2.jpgBack to the topic of decomposition, precut vegetables will last a decent amount of time as long as their bag hasn’t been opened. The reason: the bags are often filled with nitrogen to minimize air (with its 20 percent oxygen), delaying spoilage. The industry calls this M.A.P., or Modified Atmosphere Packaging. Who knew your bag of romaine had its own atmosphere?

M.A.P. is great if you’re using all of the bag’s contents at once. If you’re not, the cut produce doesn’t store well after being opened. And sealed or unsealed, cut produce won’t last as long as uncut.  

The word: if you’re going to buy precut produce, try to buy a reasonably-sized bag you’ll use in one or two servings.  

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