Exposed: The Fresh Fruit Myth

September 5, 2013

Freshly Picked Cherries From The Garden

Kids are always hungry. Diet-conscious moms plan ahead by bringing healthy snacks along instead of stopping at the drive-through for a load of junk food.

The easy solution: Store sliced fresh fruit in the refrigerator and grab some when the kids get hungry. That’s simple enough, isn’t it?

Maybe not. Nutritionists have long voiced concern about storing produce – especially peeled or sliced fruit – in the refrigerator. What happens to the vitamins and nutrients when food is chilled?

We feed our kids fruit snacks because we want them to enjoy the full nutritional benefits. If chilling the fruit compromises the nutritional payload, it defeats the whole purpose.

Relax. According to recent studies, storing fruit and other produce in the fridge is actually an excellent way of preserving nutritional value and preventing spoilage.

It can also enhance your eating habits by making healthy snacks as convenient to eat as packaged treats. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans throw away 31.6 million tons of food every year.

Ripe watermelons on wicker tray  on table on wooden background

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that the average family discards more than 1 1/4 pounds of food every day.

If refrigerating fruit keeps it palatable and prevents it from being discarded due to spoilage, everybody wins.

When you do store fruit in the fridge, keep it in perforated plastic bags and store the bags in the produce compartment.

Supermarkets sell bags that are especially designed to allow fruit to breathe – or you can perforate your own with a fork or knife.

Keep different foods and vegetables away from each other. Some fruits exude ethylene, a chemical that speeds ripening and spoilage, and the compound can build up in an enclosed space.

Your local grocery store probably refrigerates or even freezes produce before it is brought out for sale. That’s fine – while freezing may change the texture of fruits and vegetables, rendering them less desirable, there’s no nutritional problem.

In fact, freezing is an even better way to preserve fruit’s nutritional quality than refrigerating! So you needn’t fret about putting sliced fruit in the fridge.

Your kids are still eating the same nutrients, whether they eat them from the refrigerator or from the kitchen counter. The only difference is that chilled fruit can be a bit more refreshing.

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