How Do Fruits and Vegetables Survive Long Journeys?

Learn how perishable fruits and vegetables survive long journeys. Explore the ripening process and ethylene gas in produce.

How Do Fruits and Vegetables Survive Long Journeys?
Photo by Juairia Islam Shefa / Unsplash

Transporting fruits and vegetables across continents to deliver fresh produce to consumers often raises questions about their shelf life.

Many wonder how these perishable items endure weeks in transit, only to spoil within a couple of days upon reaching our kitchens.

Harvested Before Ripe

Fruits and vegetables that are destined for long transport are harvested before they fully ripen.

This is done to ensure that they remain firm over extended periods, as ripe produce is more susceptible to damage and decay.

Once harvested, the produce is transported in climate-controlled containers to maintain freshness and reduce spoilage.

Ripening Rooms

Upon arrival at their destination, the produce is often placed in ripening rooms.

These rooms are filled with ethylene gas, which triggers the ripening process.

This controlled environment allows vendors to stagger the ripening of fruits and vegetables to ensure a steady supply of ripe produce to meet consumer demand.

Ethylene Gas

Ethylene gas occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables and is known as the ethylene hormone. It plays a crucial role in the ripening and aging of produce.