Egg washes give bread rolls and pastries a shiny finish. But did you know they also keep fruits fresh longer? Take a look at this five-minute recipe.
Less than three ingredients are needed to make this simple egg wash recipe. You can use it to coat your favorite fruits and vegetables, increase their lifespan and prevent food waste. Egg washes are a much more sustainable and efficient way of preserving fruit than regular waxes.
You can also prolong the life of your food by storing fruits and vegetables correctly — read our seven tricks for storing vegetables, fruits and leftovers for more info.
Disadvantages of Wax
The most common materials used for waxing fruit and vegetables are paraffin, carnauba, shellac and polyethylene. Unfortunately, these can come with an array of sketchy side effects, including:
- Artificial appearance: Overly shiny fruits with notable layers of wax can be unappealing to consumers.
- Extra cost: Waxing adds cost to the production process and extends the timespan needed to prepare produce for the market.
- Surface burn: Ever noticed brown or yellow spots on your fruit? That can be caused by common waxes.
- Wax whitening: When fruit and vegetables get exposed to temperature changes, the wax can whiten and leave a visible crust.
- Off-flavor development: As wax restricts fruit and vegetables’ metabolisms, it can also cause the taste to go slightly “off.”
Alternatives for Keeping Produce Fresh
Egg washing is a non-toxic, organic and natural way to preserve fruits and vegetables. It can help fruit stay fresh for up to two weeks without much change in appearance. Uncoated produce tends to go bad far sooner.
What happens when you coat fruit and vegetables in egg wash?
Two elements that influence the ripening process are oxygen level and water content. You need to lower the oxygen level to slow the ripening process while keeping water content steady to counteract wilting. Wilting is when a plant — or fruit or veg — loses its rigidity and becomes limp and soft. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, this process is inevitable, though it can be delayed.
Coating fruits and vegetables with egg wash can reduce oxygen exposure and halt water loss. At the same time, it does not take away from the fruit’s natural look, is less likely to be affected by temperature changes and won’t interfere with the fresh and delicious taste you enjoy from your favorite fruit and vegetables.
Egg Wash: A Simple Recipe With Many Uses
Yield: ¼ cups
- 1 egg (ideally always use organic and pasture-raised. Find out why cage-free eggs might not be as good a choice as you think.)
- 2 tbsp. water or milk (you can use plant-based milk if you wish)
- pinch of salt (optional)
- Crack the egg into a bowl and beat it with a fork.
- Add two tbsp of water or milk and a pinch of salt. Mix until well combined.
- That’s it! Now you’re ready to coat your produce.
Tips & Tricks:
- If you have the option, start with buying organic, fair trade and unwaxed produce. It doesn’t make sense to egg wash something that has already been treated with wax.
- If you are allergic to eggs or keep a vegan diet, you can rinse this egg wash off with cold water before eating.
- If you use a wooden brush to do the egg washing, make sure to rinse it with cold water afterward to prevent stickiness. Alternatively, you can use your hands.
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