Ever-ripening: what dangers await vegetarians in a greengrocer’s shop?

Most of the fruits that can be found in any good market or in a large supermarket are conventionally divided into 3 categories:

Leftovers from the last harvest

· Imported products

Plants grown in a greenhouse

Each of the groups has its pros and cons, but is equally interesting to buyers in different seasons of the year. Of course, each supplier touts their products, ensuring that their vegetables or fruits are exclusively natural, rich in trace elements and grown in suitable conditions. But it is easy to remember how conscious buyers are amazed, for example, by ripe scarlet strawberries in the middle of winter, berry by berry selected by kind farmers, beautiful and of the same size, but, alas, rarely having even a remotely familiar taste and aroma. How are such fruits grown and is it dangerous to eat them? Let’s take a closer look.

Emphasis on acceleration

According to the data of the Expert and Analytical Center for Agribusiness, in 2017 the share of imports of main types of fruits to Russia increased by 12,9 thousand tons compared to 2016, in other words, plant products imported from abroad amounted to about 70% of the assortment of stores . It’s no secret that most of these imported goods are sent for sale in an unripe state and are brought to “condition” already in Russia. What methods are used to speed up the ripening process and keep certain types of fruits and vegetables fresh?

1. Heating in the gas chamber.

So, in order for green bananas to reach the state familiar to Russians, they must be kept in a gas chamber at +18 degrees Celsius, exposing them to a mixture of ethylene and nitrogen. The ripening period under such conditions is 6 days, then the berry (namely, from the point of view of botany, bananas are) acquires a bright yellow hue of the peel, and the pulp becomes sweet and tender. However, the volumes of imports, as we see from the statistics, do not allow suppliers to keep fruits in the chamber for more than 10, at most 12 hours. Thus, in most stores, we see bananas ripened under artificial conditions with an increased amount of gas, which often makes them tasteless.

If we talk about the degree of impact of such food on the human body, then it will not be possible to call it completely harmful – a mixture of ethylene and nitrogen is an alternative to solar radiation, without changing the chemical composition of the product. However, being in artificial conditions does not make such fruits useful, depriving them of the entire supply of vitamins that are so necessary for a person – after all, they can be formed in fruits only under the influence of natural sunlight. Is there any point in eating a product rich in calories, but poor in microelement composition?

2. Spraying fruits with special chemicals.

Surely you have noticed that some varieties, for example, apples, can be found on sale in any season of the year, while their appearance will be perfect. To achieve this effect, manufacturers use the so-called “apple botox” – an E230 additive called diphenyl. This substance is distilled from fossil fuels such as oil. By the way, they process not only apples, but also pears, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and many other fruits. Biphenyl inhibits the growth of fungi and bacteria on the surface of fruits and vegetables, prevents decay, so that they remain clean and appetizing.

But, like any substance obtained chemically, E230 contains toxins that are dangerous to human health, so the additive is already banned in a number of EU countries and in the United States. So, diphenyl can provoke the growth of malignant tumors, cause nervous exhaustion, increase the frequency of epileptic seizures, and so on. To protect yourself, it is important to organize a thorough washing of fruits and vegetables before use with a special solution, the recipe of which we give at the end of the article.

Life hack from VEGETARIAN

To check if the E230 fruit you have purchased has been processed, hold it under running hot water for about 20-30 seconds and carefully look at the surface. If an oily film appeared on the peel, the fruit or vegetable was covered with a layer of biphenyl!

3. Spraying fungicide gas on all plant products.

To ensure the long-term preservation of plants in a warehouse, where they can wait for months to be sent to display cases, they are treated with a fungicide, a gaseous substance that suppresses rotting processes and kills mold.

The fungicide is harmless to humans, as it disappears immediately after the fruits are brought to the counter.

4. The use of nitrates and pesticides in cultivation.

In almost all developed countries of the world, chemicals such as nitrates and pesticides are widely used when spraying growing fruit trees and shrubs. They are safe for humans if used in the right proportions, and allow you to speed up the ripening of fruits, berries and vegetables, as well as prevent the appearance of pests on them.

Unfortunately, more and more often, farmers and entire horticultural farms independently increase the dose of chemicals in order to harvest faster and in larger quantities – such products are no longer useful and can lead to various health problems. There are several ways to check the excess of nitrates and other chemicals in individual fruits:

Try to break them on a vertical surface – a wall or glass – if the fruit or vegetable remains intact on all sides after the impact, it should not be eaten, if it cracks, it is harmless. The method is not for everyone, but one of the most effective!

Use a special device – a nitrate meter, which has a special nitrate indicator showing safe and dangerous values. With a probe that any such tester is equipped with, they pierce the surface of a berry, fruit or vegetable, press the button and hold the device motionless for no more than 5 seconds. The data obtained during such a rapid study, according to statistics, can be trusted in the vast majority of cases.

Cut the surface of the fruit – if white streaks or light areas in the pulp are visible, you should not eat it.

Pay attention to the color of the skin – for example, a cucumber that has not been treated with chemicals, the skin color is always bright green, and the pimples are soft. But when choosing carrots or potatoes, it is important to focus on the absence of green or yellow spots on the surface.

How to protect yourself?

Firstly, do not trust the labels offered by the store or the seller on their part. At the slightest doubt about the naturalness of vegetables, fruits or berries that you see in the window, you have the right to demand a quality certificate directly from the manufacturer.

Second, the before use, some types of plants should be soaked in a special solution from simple products:

1. Apples, pears, potatoes, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, watermelons, radishes, zucchini and other hard-skinned fruits can be peeled off the top layer of chemicals with a simple composition: 1 tbsp of soda and 1 tbsp. lemon juice mixed with a glass of water and poured into a spray bottle. We spray the solution on the plants, and after 5 minutes we wash it off under running water. The product can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

2. Bunches of greens can be freed from nitrates by simply soaking for 10-20 minutes in a solution of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt. After that, the greens should be washed again with running water.

3. To rid the fruit of traces of definil (E230), paraffin, it is better to completely cut off the peel from it before use.

4. Strawberries, wild strawberries, raspberries will be cleansed of harmful chemicals in a weak solution of potassium permanganate, if you lower them there for no more than 3-4 minutes.

5. If there is no desire to make solutions, any fruits can be immersed in a basin of cool water for 3-4 hours, replacing the liquid in the container every 40-50 minutes. After the procedure, all products are washed again under a stream of cool or warm water.

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