It's Cold Outside, but What Does it Mean?

Share this post

When I was in college we'd pack the elevator with students, turn off the lights and yell - "Molecule!" The car shook in the shaft as we bounced off of each other and the walls, finally tumbling out when we reached the 5th floor. Chemistry classes were having an applied impact on us and soon we adapted our game, calling out - "Boil!" -- to speed up our molecular bouncing and "-100 Kelvin!" -- to slow ourselves into molasses-like movements. Thus chemistry met performance art (mixed once in a while with beverages of the adult sort.)
Heat, if you recall from your chemistry classes, is the result of a material's kinetic energy. And temperature is a measure of that energy. When something heats up, its atoms and molecules move around quickly. When it cools down, those atoms and molecules move slower.
Without having to understand the nature of atoms and molecules, humans have long observed that heat and cooling can affect the longevity of their food. The apple cellar - a hole dug under a house to use the insulating and cooling properties of the soil - was long a fixture of pre-refrigeration food storage. As Harold McGee, rockstar writer of On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen, notes, "The most effective way to prolong the storage life of fresh produce is to control its temperature... A reduction of just 10 degree Fahrenheit can nearly double storage life." He notes that different fruits have different storage temperatures and have to be viewed individually based on their storage ranges. Take for example peaches and nectarines. Now we all know that the best peaches and nectarines are picked fresh, unrefigerated, and eaten soon. However, if you want to extend their life you can refrigerate them but only between 32.5 and 35 degrees, or above 46 degrees. The range 36-46 degrees will make the inside around the pits mushy. Stone fruits are vastly different then, say, apples which don't have a "killing zone" of refrigeration and if kept above freezing will keep for a very long time.
Right now - winter time into spring - is the main harvest time for oranges, mandarines, tangelos, pixies and other great citrus. The apples and pears we're eating - as good as they may be - were harvested in fall and have been cold-stored to preserve them. Just wanted to let you know how this modern world affects what we eat.
Check out this week's mix.
Enjoy and be fruitful!


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent The FruitLife articles:

Summer fruit varieties and when you’ll be seeing them
July 9, 2019
Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018

More recent articles:

Summer muffin recipe
July 18, 2019
Assumptions can harm both recruiters and job seekers
July 16, 2019
Simple summer salad dressing recipes
July 11, 2019
Easy summer pasta recipe
July 4, 2019
How to create a dress code that works all year
July 2, 2019
More employers are getting serious about time off
June 27, 2019
Two Easy Recipes for Canning Stone Fruit
June 25, 2019
The health benefits of honeydew melon
June 20, 2019
The delicate flavors of white peaches and nectarines
June 13, 2019
Don’t let plantar fasciitis pain break your stride
June 11, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.