The Shelf Life Advice Quick Reference Guide has answers about refrigerated unopened and opened foods. To receive your copy, type your email address in the box below and click "Sign Up".

FAQs: Cutting Boards and Kitchen Counters--Selection and Care

cutting boardWhat types of cutting boards and kitchen counters should consumers purchase?  What sort of care do they need?   Do they need to be sanitized after each use? In what ways do cleaning and sanitizing differ?  How does one sanitize?  Let's find out what Shelf Life Advice Board scientists advise.

Battling the Ripening of Bananas

bananaQuestion from a reader:  "How can I manage to keep ripe but not overripe bananas in my home?  I don't live near a grocery store and can get to one only once a week. I usually wind up with mushy, disgusting-looking bananas that I have to throw out."


My condolences.  I know that bananas can drive you bananas. You may be comforted to know that your query has given my research skills quite a workout. Online, I've found plenty of advice, some of which didn't work for me. Keep in mind this witty comment (often quoted with slight variations) by H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), journalist, satirist, and curmudgeon: "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." 


In addition to the online methods for prolonging the edible life of bananas that I tested, this article includes more trustworthy wisdom from four of the scientists who serve on the Shelf Life Advice Advisory Board.

Ethylene and Produce: Friends or Foes?

applesBuying a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables these days?  Then it's well worth knowing something about ethylene. "What's ethylene?" some may ask.  It's a plant hormone that fruits and vegetables produce naturally as they ripen.  Reducing exposure to ethylene slows the natural ripening, thereby extending produce shelf life.  The problem is that, like many gases, it's sneaky--invisible and odorless.  Nevertheless, you can infer its presence and control it to some extent.

Quiz Yourself! Check Your Knowledge about Food Temperatures

TestAre the statements below fact or fiction?  Read them carefully and jot down your answers.  (Don’t cheat. Do this before you read the answers below.)  Then check your knowledge. If you answered most of the questions correctly, give yourself a pat on the back (which is challenging).  If you get several wrong, well, live and learn how to keep foods safe.

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