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Thursday, April 26, 2007

More on Berries, Antioxidants and Alcohol

Image from Wikimedia Commons; it is freely available under GNU Free Documentation LicenseShelly Batts had the good sense to read the entire article instead of just the abstract. Her analysis in Retrospectacle is, therefore, much more valuable than mine. Turns out the berries are only exposed to the fumes of the tested compounds. Her summary of the article is an easy read, and includes a helpful chart and graph. She says 60% of untreated blackberries rotted, 47% of ethanol-trated blackberries rotted, and only 29% of allyl isothiocyanate-treated blackberries rotted.

What I have not seen is data comparing comparing antioxidant content of fresh berries (control and treated) to the 1 and 2-week old berries. If treatment with volatile compounds actually boosted antioxidant content (rather than simply protecting against decline), then there might be some merit in marinating the berries shortly before eating them. Though, of course, there is little benefit to the humans if they marinate themselves while eating berries.

The purpose of the study was to find ways to increase the shelf-life of berries. I don't really want to eat 2-week-old blackberries, even if less than a third of them are rotten. I prefer to buy them fresh locally or pick my own, and eat them within 3 days. They taste a lot better than berries picked for shipping from thousands of miles a way. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer food that tastes good. Even if that means I'm restricted to eating it in season.