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Magical edible coating may extend ripeness of avocados

Illustration for article titled Magical edible coating may extend ripeness of avocadosem/em
Photo: pbombaert (Moment/Getty Images)

I love avocados, but am frustrated by them just as much. It seems like no matter what I do to purchase them at the peak of ripeness, unless I use them within the perfect minutes-long window, they edge into unappealing brown territory, and then I have to toss them.

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Turns out, I’m not alone in my plight, which is why Santa Barbara company Apeel Sciences (with backing from the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation) has been working on a new coating that would help prolong the edible life of not just avocados, but mangos, strawberries, apples, bananas, kumquats, and asparagus. It’s made from “naturally occurring lipids extracted from discarded fruit or vegetable waste” like grapes or tomatoes, making for an edible coating—not that helpful for avocados, but good for strawberries. The Guardian explains:

The tasteless coating, developed by Santa Barbara company Apeel Sciences, controls the two main factors that cause fresh produce to go bad: the rate at which water escapes the surface of fruit and vegetables and the rate at which oxygen enters. This allows treated produce to stay fresh for longer.

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The produce won’t last forever or anything, but this coating—which will be sold in the U.S. for the first time this week in nationwide Costcos and Harps Food Stores in the Midwest—should add at least a few more days onto that elusive ripe-avocado window. It will also combat the tremendous amounts of food waste that gets tossed every year due to over-ripe produce. For avocado-toast and guac lovers like myself, I can’t think of a more exciting scientific discovery.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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DISCUSSION

italianator
2Woke2Joke

It seems like no matter what I do to purchase them at the peak of ripeness, unless I use them within the perfect minutes-long window, they edge into unappealing brown territory, and then I have to toss them.

Um, that’s your problem. You don’t buy them ripe. Buy them less than ripe or totally unripe and ripen them in your home. I buy them at Costco, because they are always perfectly unripened and then I can ripen them at home, rotating them next to the ripening bananas for accelerated ripening or keeping them separate to slow it down.