A bit of evidence of our general fixation with "freshness":
- The market research firm The Hartman Group called fresh "one of the most important cues in food culture today," with consumers coming to "rely on fresh as a broad marker of a high-quality food lifestyle"
- Rubbermaid's new FreshWorks products, which promise to keep produce fresh up to 80% longer
- Food52's recent email, subject line: "Tricks for produce that stays fresh waaayyyy longer"
- Maybe even your thoughts right now, drifting towards what you need to use up tonight and what will live another day
But does this obsession with freshness come at a cost: Does it mean that perfectly fit food goes to waste if it's not at peak freshness?
On a recent post about food waste, M's asked, "What 'gross-looking' things on various vegetables don't matter, and which do? Which discolourations are safe, and which aren't? How we can properly clean and prepare an imperfect vegetable? Which foods can have mold or deterioration safely cut off, and which can't?"
As part of our effort to think through our worship of freshness (and the cost at which that comes), we want to hear from you: When is your food so far from fresh that it goes in the compost bin (or the trash can)? What cues—smell, appearance—do you look for?
Some questions to consider:
- Do you eat browned-over avocados?
- If a piece of fruit or a vegetable gets a bruise or a bit of mold, would you cut that part off and proceed?
- What about the greening part of potatoes?
- Do you care about some fruit or vegetables more than others? Do you baby some characters in particular (we're looking at you, tomatoes, peaches, and berries)?
Tell us your freshness philosophy (and strategies) in the comments below!