Apeel Sciences puts an extra peel on produce
How a new procedure makes fruits and vegetables last longer and stay fresh
I personally think that all those things which help the environment and our health are worth mentioning. I wrote a post on how one can reduce plastic overload by tattooing fruits and vegetables. Now I have come across something new recently and think you might be interested to know about it.
Anything which improves our environment is welcome. If fruits and vegetables instead of traveling by plane can do so on a cargo ship it is beneficial. The difference between flying and traveling overseas is that it produces 100 times less greenhouse gas per metric ton of cargo.
How is this possible? Some produce ripens too fast and that is why it was usually put on a plane. Now a new method has been found to slow the ripening process so a boat transfer becomes possible.
James Reed was a graduate student at the University of Santa Barbara. In 2012, with a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he founded the company Apeel SCIENCES. Since the start, Apeel has raised $110.000.000 dollars in financing. The idea behind this is to help reduce post-harvest food waste in developing countries which lack the refrigeration infrastructure. Not only in those countries but also in the countries where this product is being transported to.
Giving the fruits and vegetables an extra, ultra-fine and edible coating which gives produce nearly a double lifespan will save a lot of money. There will be a lot less waste and a smaller burden on the environment as there is less water needed as well.
When you take into consideration that approximately one in eight people might go hungry but still 30% to 40% of food is thrown in the waste bin one wonders what is wrong with the system. Mind you, this does not happen in some faraway country, no, this happens in the U.S. If produce lasts longer, then it certainly will be a benefit on many levels.
The Apeel Science company is based in Goleta, California. Their innovative method is aimed to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for a longer time span. Produce goes bad because of water loss and oxidation and this edible plant material coat prevents that from happening. Nature already provides everything edible with a skin or peel to protect it, and that is the reason one should not wrap everything in plastic.
The evolution of plants
Mr. James Rogers is the CEO of Apeel, and he explains that plants evolved something called cutin, that is a waxy barrier against the elements. This process started hundreds of millions of years ago when plants made the jump from water to land. It depends on how densely the molecular building blocks are, which then will determine how fast produce will spoil. The more tightly woven the cutin coat is, the better it will protect.
You might have seen products on the market which have been given a wax coating, but that is only for the looks. It will not stop produce from going bad.
The cutin coating keeps out the bad air and preserves the moisture. Interestingly he says that oxygen means increased chemical reactions inside the fruits as it does not know it has been disembodied. As it is still a living, breathing thing, the fruits do not say oh, I have been picked, now all function ceases. That reminds me of a post in which I wrote about plants having feelings.
I hope you do not think you cannot eat anymore. We humans do not know how to live off only air yet.
Fruits and Vegetables picked when they are ripe
Another important aspect of Apeel is that growers now can wait for their vegetables and fruits to ripen instead of picking them while still green. Produce picked at the time it is ripe has developed all the nutrients possible and therefore is much better for our health. The coating is made of lipids and glycerolipids which are substances already existing in the peels, seeds, and pulp. It has gotten the green light by the FDA as it is generally recognized as safe.
This product comes in powder form and you only have to mix it with water. There are various methods of applying it like spray, dip or brush it on. It is tasteless, colorless, and also has no odor. There is no need to try and scrub it off as the scrubbing would damage the fruits or vegetable. The extra peel is edible so in case you usually eat this fruit or vegetable with the peel you can still do it now too.
About half of all grown food ends up in a landfill. Millions of people worldwide go hungry. The problem is not that there is not enough food, the problem is that so much goes to waste. I think this invention of Apeel Sciences is brilliant. It does not use chemicals, of those we have more than enough in our world today.
It reproduces an extra natural coat for fruits and vegetables, so they stay fresh for at least double the normal time. There is no need to produce more food, just a need to make the foods we do produce stay fresh for a longer time.
Transport can be by boat instead of air travel producing 100 times fewer greenhouse gasses. Produce is picked when it has developed its full nutritional benefits, instead of transported while still unripe and green. Like those green bananas, you often find in the supermarkets and even after getting ripe, taste of nothing. I think this is a great invention. Ask your local store to have Apeel fruits and vegetables on their shelves.
Just as an afterthought. I do hope all this produce is grown organically as otherwise, it will still be a better option to buy from your local organic farmer. When fruits and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides with washing carefully you will eliminate most of it.
With the extra layer of Apeel over it, you cannot wash it off anymore. It would mean you have to peel your fruit or vegetable. That is often possible but not always like with strawberries, other types of berries, cherries, and grapes. Plums and apricots or tomatoes and green peppers, just as an example. That is something to think about.
Source: For Ctnet, article by Justin Jaffe on September 18, 2019. Apeel Sciences.
Photo Source: Pixabay
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