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Ethylene – how it can contribute to shortening of food lifespan

Ethylene isn’t all bad even though it’s a major contributor in shortening the life of your hard earned produce but sometimes it can be your friend.  Did you know that you can speed up the ripening process of an unripe fruit by putting a high emitting ethylene producing food near to it, for example, by putting an unripe avocado, kiwi fruit or even a watermelon together with an apple in a bag!

However for the most part you really want to slow down the release of Ethylene gas to maximise your product shelf life which in turn will save you lots of money.  Here are some tips to help achieve this.

Liebherr BioFresh drawer

By using our BioFresh storage drawers which are set at just above zero degrees then selecting the appropriate low or high humidity setting the Ethylene producing gas is dramatically slowed. This process will increase your food shelf life significantly longer whilst still maintaining the original level of moisture. It will keep the colour and snap in your fruit and veggies longer whilst still maintaining your dairy, meats and seafood as pristine as the day it was purchased. However as advanced as the Liebherr BioFesh technology is make no mistake that Ethylene will be the eventual winner but with a bit of good planning your food would have been consumed and enjoyed by all well before it can no longer be enjoyed.

Some fruits and vegetables are more sensitive to the ethylene gas, so keep such produce away from ethylene producers as they deteriorate quickly and decay prematurely in high- ethylene environment. The degree of damage depends upon the concentration of ethylene, the temperature and duration of exposure.

Top 8 storage tips

1. High ethylene producing fruits should be kept away from other fruits and vegetables. Store fruits and vegetables separately, because fruits release more ethylene gas than vegetables, which can spoil the veggies. Keep leafy vegetables and lettuce away from fruits. Therefore, store ethylene emitting produce such as apples, avocados, bananas, melons, peaches, pears, tomatoes, etc. separately from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leafy greens, lettuce, etc. as these are ethylene sensitive.

2. Do not store spinach, kale or similar leafy vegetables near apples, bananas or peaches, otherwise they will turn yellow quickly and limp.

3. Keep away your ripe foods from ethylene-producing foods to last longer.

4. Storing potatoes with apples naturally inhibit the sprouting in potatoes. The potato industry introduce trace amounts of ethylene into potato storage boxes to delay the sprouting process significantly.

5. Keep onions & potatoes separated as both can release moisture that will cause each other to spoil faster. Store them separately in a dry, cool and airy place. Many people have given ethylene as the reason for storing onions and potatoes separately, but that is not true; both potatoes and onions do not produce ethylene gas, only potato is sensitive to this gas.

6. Remove and discard the older rotten fruits so that your other fruits and vegetables last longer with full nutritional benefits.

7. Citrus fruits do not ripen further after they are picked so they have long self-life.

8. Note also that tomatoes are not artificially reddened by ethylene. The normal tomato ripening process can be accelerated by externally applied ethylene.

Check out the attached tables for an easy to follow guide.

Find a Liebherr BioFresh refrigerator via our website or call 1800 685 899 for more information.