Here is my word irk on this particular subject…
The Cucumber Growers Association gives the following reasons for shrink-wrapping a cucumber:
It prevents physical damage.
It prevents dirty hands touching the cucumber
It prevents cold injury and moisture loss
This splendidly all adds up to ensuring that the cucumber will ultimately last longer…
One happy consumer verified this online, celebrating the fact that their cocooned cucumber had lasted a whole month. What weirds me out about all this is, why does anyone want a cucumber or any other vegetable to last that long, given the rapid nutrient loss that occurs from the point you remove it from its connection with the earth? Not to put too fine a point on it, you kind of want to eat the thing pretty quickly, not break an archaeological record mummifying it in your fridge for as long as possible, surely? (The necessity for adequate nutrition for life and health just sort of disappeared off the reasoning radar here…)
Also, by simply smacking a shrink-wrapped cucumber with the edge of a knife, I discovered that damage to the cucumber still occurs…You may be surprised by this. You may not.
And it’s always been my understanding that you wash your fruit and veg before you eat them, wrapped or otherwise so again this all points to a thumbs up for nude cucumbers.
Quite apart from the fact there is a certain joy to the senses involved in handling produce (possibly with dirty hands argh!) that gets completely obliterated by plastic barriers. You can’t touch it, smell it, look at it properly, choose your own amounts etc etc.
Oh yes, and more packaging on produce, higher price to consumer too I suspect…
And I can’t recycle it…
To me, this all adds up to a compelling marketing strategy for shrink wrapping something that doesn’t need shrink-wrapping.
In effect, this cucumber is a pointy old symbol for all that fresh produce covered in endless plastic that we could eliminate by changing our shopping habits and asking our supermarkets to provide loose produce, deli counters, more staff and aisles of refillable options.
I don’t need or want this.
The polar bears sure don’t need it either….