Science Project:

Preserving Foods

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:

  • Which is the most effective?
  • How much can we save in food waste and cost?

The amount of food America wastes in a single year is estimated to be 350 billion pounds. The average American household was found to waste 14% of purchased food worth about $590/year. Some study estimates are as high as $1350/year. Much of this waste is a result of food going bad such as meat, vegetables, fruits, and grains. Not only does wasting food affect our pockets but also our environment. The energy consumed to produce the wasted food is roughly 2%, not taking into account the energy consumption post waste. Decomposing food in landfills produces methane that hold in 23 times the amount of heat than carbon dioxide. Given these findings it is important to buy less and find more effective ways of preserving produce.

  • Green containers
  • Green bags
  • Lettuce keeper
  • Ziploc bags
  • Food preserving discs - Extra Life Fruit and Veggie Keeper are good brands
  • Lettuce
  • Strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries

  1. Choose three preserving containers to test. For this example we will use Green bags, a lettuce keeper, and the preserving disc.
  2. Choose the food(s) you want to preserve. Softer fruits and vegetables are a good option because their shelf life is considerably lower. For this example we will use strawberries.
  3. Determine the average shelf life of the product without using a preserving method. Strawberries will last a maximum of 3 days in the refrigerator.
  4. Place equal amounts of the product you choose into each container and place it in the refrigerator. Place 5 strawberries in each container.
  5. Check each container daily to examine the condition of the product.
  6. Record the number of days until the product spoils. Strawberries get soggy and grow and start to grow white mold.
  7. Chart and graph your data:

Strawberries - Average refrigerated life span = 3 days

Number of days to spoil:
Green Bags
Lettuce Keeper
Preserving Disc
Strawberries
7
8
6
Product A (optional)
8
5
6
Product B (optional)
6
8
8
Product C (optional)
8
5
7

Terms/Concepts: How does produce spoil?; Ethylene; Methane; How long do fruits & vegetables last? Make a list of fruits and veggies along with their average shelf/refrigerator life; How do produce preservers work?

References:

Author: Melissa Bautista
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