We are constantly cutting vegetables into edible pieces. Give folks an entire, unpeeled carrot, and they look at it like it's something out of the woodshed. I guess, I can delight my son by handing him the biggest uncut stalk of celery, which he eats entirely, but he’s happy with anything that's shaped like a light saber.
You figure, you’re not just going to chomp on the same thing for 10 minutes, so it has to be served in small pieces. The trick is, try to chop it up just before the meal or at least within an hour of serving. “Food scientists treat the cutting, slicing, and chopping of fresh vegetables as procedures that wound the cells of the plants and trigger injury-based responses by the plant cells. Researchers treat vegetable chopping as a form of stress, similar to other forms of stress like extreme heat, extreme cold, dehydration, or other physical conditions.” * Wow, maybe my son is a Jedi…
Anyway, one of my goals is to find ways to not create veggie waste, so although the article continues with recommendations to not torture and crush your veggies, “a dull knife can cause unnecessary and unwanted damage…With a sharp blade you are likely to decrease the risk of bacterial growth and the risk of excessive softening.” * I figure, when the veggies you are serving are slightly mashed, if you eat them soon, it’s mostly okay. The next rule would be, whatever the sharpness of your blade, that you portion the proper amount. That last phrase sounded kind of British, : ) which is nice, because it was inspired by the English website: Love Food Hate Waste ** U.S. translation: Don’t chop so much that you’ve got leftovers which are going to spoil.
So the two concepts I've covered here in the attempt to not create veggie waste are:
- Cut into small pieces within an hour of serving.
- Try to chop up only as much as can be eaten soon.
From the The George Mateljan Foundation
From the WRAP Organization