A background to Ethylene Gas and its effect on fresh produce.
There are 3 key factors in keeping fruits and vegetables fresh;
(2). Humidity, and
(3). ETHYLENE control.
Temperature and humidity can be managed in the refrigerator although domestic refrigerators do find it difficult to deliver humidity at the levels that are required by fruit and vegetables.
Most refrigerators operate with humidity levels of about 60-70% whilst the ideal humidity levels that fruit and vegetables need are 85-95% or even higher. Keeping your produce in plastic bags can help to overcome any moisture loss that will result from low humidity, but be sure to leave the bags open at the top so they can still breath and there is not too much condensation that builds up in the bag.
Ethylene is a colourless and tasteless gas that is naturally produced by all fruit and vegetables as they age and ripen. It is the trigger that accelerates the ripening and ageing process and you might be familiar with it as the gas that they use to ripen bananas and other fruits.
The problem with ethylene gas is that as your fruit and vegetables release ethylene into their environment it builds up in your crisper bin and feeds back into your produce, causing a rapid acceleration of the ageing process and rapid deterioration of your produce. This is known as the feedback effect of ethylene and it leads to the premature ripening and spoiling of many fruit and vegetables. Bruised, damaged and diseased product will generate more ethylene than healthy produce so the old saying that “One bad apple spoils the lot” is indeed very true.
Exposure of fresh produce to ethylene gas at very low levels (less than 0.1 part per million in the air) is enough to cause accelerated breakdown in most fruit and vegetables. Apples, pears and stonefruit will rapidly soften, broccoli and other vegetables will turn yellow, carrots will become bitter, lettuce will russet spot… just about all fruits and vegetables will deteriorate rapidly if exposed to ethylene.
Ethylene is often referred to as the silent killer of fruit and vegetables because, until KeepFresh, there has been no means of removing it from your refrigerator crisper bin. KeepFresh removes ethylene gas from your refrigerator crisper bin using a filter that is completely safe and non-toxic. By removing ethylene KeepFresh can keep your produce fresh for up to 6 weeks longer.