Purchasing precut fruits and vegetables is one way to bring more convenience to the kitchen ― even if it costs up to three times what the whole produce would cost you. But there are a few things you should know before you buy them.
Precut fruit has some major downsides. Buying whole produce usually brings bigger benefits.
For most people to buy whole fruit from an economic standpoint; it’s going to be less expensive. From a food safety standpoint, fruit that is protected by a rind or a peel, there’s going to be very low risk of contamination with other foodborne pathogens, like salmonella and E. coli. I think that whole fruit is nutritionally the best option. It’s going to be fresher, also.
Precut produce is definitely a timesaving option. And for some people, it may be the only way they’ll realistically eat fruits and vegetables ― especially since it’s more accessible for older people or people with disabilities, who may have trouble cutting or peeling. For those reasons, no one’s suggesting you altogether stop buying precut produce.
With cut fruits and vegetables, you may only have one piece that actually has, say, salmonella or listeria on it. But, when you cut it up and start mixing it, it now cross-contaminates the entire contents of your mixing bowl. And, it’s just inherently adding more risk any time you have human beings handling the food. Any precut, bagged or packaged fruits or vegetables also need to be refrigerated or surrounded by ice, both in your own kitchen and in the grocery store. Don’t buy it if they’re not.
Cutting or peeling fruits and vegetables exposes their insides to light and air. This causes oxidation, which could affect the texture, color or taste. They might start to lose nutrients if they sit for a while, too.
Water-soluble vitamins, like vitamin C and vitimin B, and some antioxidants are especially sensitive to oxidation. Since precut fruits and vegetables are vulnerable to oxidation, they won’t last as long as the whole versions that are protected by a rind or skin. So, paying attention to sell-by, use-by or best-by dates is critical.