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May 3, 2012 09:26 AM

Need help with Science Fair food

So my boyfriend's 10-year old son has stated that his Science Fair project for this year is various foods that mold or rot and what their rates of decay are...

The problem is that he should have started the project a month ago and now has less than two weeks to create the offending displays.

His idea included McD's French Fries but I (the family foodie) let him know that he is unlikely to witness any decay in those; they just shrink a little and get hard. Breads and cheeses - those things I am more familiar with going bad - take a while to develop.

Any suggestions of which foods might produce the best sort decomposition in a short period of time?


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  1. Banana.
    Cheese (pref. something squishy).

    1. These should go quickly:

      cooked beans (like kidney beans) (these smell really bad pretty quickly)

        1. re: ricepad

          Rice might be a little difficult to quantify. One thing I learned in a Serve Safe class is that by the time you can see or smell mold/spots/decay/etc. on white rice it has already been unsafe to eat for quite a while. The spoilage occurs on rice before it is detectable by smell or sight.

        2. You know what might be fun is to compare decay rates of the same food. Make chocolate chip cookies with butter, Crisco, a combination. Buy chips ahoy or something like that; as well as grocery store cookies.

          Another idea is to compare something like strawberries--one refrigerated, on room temp, one in a sealed container (will last forever), one in a plastic bag w/ moisture--maybe wash it first, etc. refrigerated and not, some in the sun, and so forth.

          1. Does your local grocery store have a "slightly old produce" section? Starting with aged fruits/veggies could jump-start the project...

            Re. the McD's proposal, tell him to check this out...