Does Aluminum Foil Keep Vegetables Fresh Longer?

We’ve all been through this. We do our weekly trip to the grocery store, we invite a variety of vegetables that we can use for dinner sometime in the coming week, then life happens and you will not use some of these vegetables as soon as you originally intended, and they are starting to get bad. But the way to prevent this is to hide in sight?

As I usually do all day, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw our friend Mary Haynes Howell share a meme that caught my eye. It was by a group called “Hot Eats and Cool Reads” who claimed that wrapping celery in aluminum foil before putting it in the refrigerator “lasts for weeks and is still fresh and crispy when you pull it out”. It also claimed that broccoli wrapped in foil would stay fresh for seven weeks and lettuce for six weeks.

I’m always a little skeptical about bold claims like these, especially when it comes to the fact that something is being used for something other than its intended purpose. I’m not one to just blindly accept what I see on social media as fact, but decided to do some research to see if these claims are true.

Is it really working?

Apparently yes. I checked four different websites that I thought were legitimate (Leaf.tv, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, and Food & Wine.com). .

Why does it work

According to Leaf.tv, the Washington Post, and Food & Wine, most vegetables, including celery, produce ethylene gas when ripened. If these gases are enclosed in a plastic bag, the vegetables will ripen faster, which means they will have a shorter lifespan. Leaf.tv says, “Loosely wrapping it in foil allows the excess gas to escape while still retaining enough moisture to keep the food fresh.” Light can also accelerate the ripening process and the film keeps the vegetables in the dark better than a transparent plastic bag.

How long does it work?

The answer seems to vary a bit. The meme claims it will “take weeks” but doesn’t give a specific number. “Weeks” means more than one to me, but how many more? Two three? 12? Leaf.tv says celery will last “two weeks or more” while Buzzfeed claims “it will stay crunchy for 4 weeks or more.” Neither Food & Wine nor The Washington Post give a specific time frame.

In this case, even if it looks like a claim on social media seems to be true, I’m not 100% convinced. I think I have to do my own experiment to see it with my own two eyes. Stay tuned…

[Sources: Hot Eats & Cool Reads on Facebook, Leaf.tv, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Food & Wine]

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