Introduction: Keeping Food Fresh Longer and Stopping Over-ripening at a Low Cost.
The key to keeping food fresh and preventing it from getting overripe doesn't only rely on using refrigerators. The more that electric refrigerator in your kitchen stays on, the more electricity it consumes. Canning is a great way to preserve food. But most processes like salting and drying before putting in the can deteriorates freshness.
There is another way to keep food fresh for longer, just by adding a slight addition to the lid of the can. It involves using clay/calabash chalk and limestone. These methods could lengthen the shelf life of your fruits and veggies for a few more days. It can take a three-day lifespan and turn it into an eight-day lifespan!
Step 1: What You Will Need
This project is very easy and cheap due to how little the materials needed to fabricate it are. You will need:
1--Clay or calabash chalk. ( They both can be bought from online stores like amazon. Clay can be gotten from any craft shop)
2--Limestone. (If you can't find this in shops around you, buy from amazon)
3--Fabric with a high absorbance rate.( Can be purchased at a fabric shop. Make sure the material you purchase is capable of absorbing water.)
*The above ingredients didn't get a specified quantity. The maker can use whatever quantity he/she deems fit.
5--A pair of scissors.
6--A can or container with a lid.
Step 2: Ground and Mix.
If your limestone came in the solid form, ground it to powder. Same with the calabash chalk (This is a hardened substance supposedly made with clay, chalk and maybe other additives. Some people who practice geophlia eat it. ) In case you don't have access to calabash chalk, use clay.
Combine equal proportions of the clay and the limestone and mix thoroughly. Then add a little bit of water. So little, you should get a rather thick texture. A thick and sticky texture. Mix again well. Once this is done, set aside for later.
Step 3: Trace Fabric and Smear.
On a flat surface, put a lid(that of the can or container you wish to use) on the cloth and trace the outline with a pen. You can now use this carved potion to guide you. Grab a spoon or butter knife and use it to smear the limestone-clay/calabash chalk mixture over it. Rub it inside the carved spot carefully while keeping a few millimeters of offset from the trace-lines. During application, try to make it as thin as possible.
The type of fabric you use will influence whether or not the mixture sticks to the material. It should be able to stick and even soak into the fabric's pores if possible.
Step 4: Cut Out and Dry
With the mixture effectively coated on the fabric, you can cut it out (do leave some outer space). From here, you can leave out under the sun to dry. If you are in a hurry, hold it over a flame for faster results. It should get dry, but not up to the extent of flaking off.
How to use:
This piece can be easily used by draping over the opening of a can/container before closing. It should be able to keep your foodstuff (fruits and vegetables) fresh for up to a week. Don't worry if the coating flakes off or touches your food. Being dry, it shouldn't do that. In case it does, no need to worry. It's not harmful when eaten. And in case geophilia isn't your thing, if the limestone-clay mixture touches you foodstuff, it can be washed off afterwards.
Step 5: The Science: Why Does This Work?
When fruits ripen, they give off a gas chemically called ethylene. If left surrounding the fruit, it makes it get ripe and eventually over-ripe. As food over-ripens, the decay process is initiated. Clay/Calabash chalk are capable of absorbing ethylene. With the ethylene sucked from the fruit and stuck in the pores of the soil, it can't get any riper.
The purpose of limestone is for water absorption. Moisture is one of the prerequisites needed for decay. Any moisture which may be given off by the plant should be removed via absorption. Though the limestone may not absorb all the water given off by the food, the little it absorbs can make a difference and lengthen the shelf-life for a few more days