Knowledge Base > Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

This event was on Tuesday, January 02, 2024 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Eric Wynkoop in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to Ask Anything – from cooking techniques to co… Read More.



Is there any way to better preserve precut vegetables like onion, cilantro and bell pepper in the fridge once they are a fine brunoise or diced?

— ingrid ortega


Okay, so, uh, this is an interesting question. And, um, uh, you know, this raises some concerns for students from the standpoint of nutrients. I occasionally have a student they'll write in and say, you know, if you're cutting vegetables ahead of time, don't they lose nutrients? And the quick answer there is probably, so, you know, to some extent or another, uh, it may be a little bit, it may be lots, you know, I'm, I'm not sure. Um, but, um, you know, also they start to degrade, right? The more cuts you have, right? The more surface area that's been, uh, cut, uh, on the food and the quicker it's going to degrade, you know, even in the refrigerator. And, um, so, you know, certainly, uh, there's some mitigation that's possible. Um, you know, number one, just make sure, um, refrigerator is, is at the, the best temperature setting, which is, you know, often in the, uh, in the high thirties, uh, degrees Fahrenheit. Um, and then also cover up your food items, uh, with something that's air tight, whether it's a snap, you know, fit fitting lid, uh, or plastic wrap in order to protect the food from the air circulation, uh, in the refrigerator. Fundamentally, a refrigerator removes moisture from that box. And so very quickly, dehydration sets in. And this is, uh, often, uh, very easily noticeable with a bell pepper. Uh, you might put a bell pepper from, uh, the grocery store in the fridge. And, uh, just overnight you'll notice wrinkles on the surface. And this is due to the dehydrating effect of the refrigerator. And certainly if that bell pepper is cut into smaller pieces, that action is going to be even faster. So, uh, we wanna keep it, um, uh, uh, those cut foods in containers, uh, so that it's protected, okay, from the air circulation. Um, but also, uh, you know, once foods are cut, they change, um, textures change, flavors shift, and it's just not the same food. And, and, uh, you know, from, from my perspective, there are some things that I opt not to precut. And, you know, things like onions and garlic, um, are, uh, fall into that category, uh, as are fresh herbs, um, because they tend to break down pretty quickly. And, uh, instead, you know, I would consider pre rinsing those things, drying them off as needed, then storing them in the refrigerator so that when it comes time to prep a meal, I can quickly pull that item out and start in on my work. Okay? Um, so try those couple of things, Ingrid, and see if, um, you know, storage makes a difference. Uh, sometimes, you know, in that container that we store cut, uh, vegetables, you might, uh, put a damp towel in there and then cover it up, uh, which will maintain some of that moisture in that environment, or, um, see if you can arrange your, you, you know, your meal prep sessions each day so that, uh, you are very quickly dicing the quantity of onions that you need, or the garlic or the fresh herbs in order to maintain maximum freshness. Okay? That's my approach. Thank you.
Eric Wynkoop

Eric Wynkoop

Director of Culinary Instruction