Selection of food, from the available variety, is an important aspect of marketing. Foods are classified on the basis of their stability during storage, into non-perishable, semi-perishable and perishable foods. In this article I am sharing about only the perishable foods as they are difficult to store. Utmost care has to be taken for their storage.
Perishable foods include plant foods like fresh vegetables and fruits and animal foods such as milk, eggs, poultry, fish and meat. Most vegetables and fruits retain freshness for a short time under ideal conditions of storage. Standards of selection of vegetables vary with the specific commodity. In general, freshness, uniformity of size, variety, colour, degree of ripeness and freedom from defects are the qualities most frequently sought. When purchasing, select fresh vegetables and fruits, which are firm, crisp, bright in colour, with no bruises or signs of decay.
At the peak of season, each vegetable and fruit has the highest nutrient content, flavor and is available at a reasonable price. Select clean leafy vegetables which are tender, crisp, brightly coloured and free from flowers, insects, mud or holes in leaves. Other vegetables include brinjals, cucumber, all gourds, pumpkin, ladies finger, tomatoes, beans, cauliflower, etc which are not included in the groups leafy or roots and tubers.
Proper storage of food is very important. It is necessary to decide about what to store and how to store after considering the space available and the shelf life of the foods. Foods spoil due to the action of enzymes and micro organisms in them. Low storage retard spoilage and other changes in the quality of perishable foods. The action of enzymes and growth of spoilage organisms is slowed down by low temperature storage. Fish, meat, poultry can be kept for short periods at temperatures just above freezing. Eggs should not be refrigerated promptly.