7

tl;dr: Questions asking how to preserve food are looking for common solutions to common problems, therefore they're not looking for Lifehacks, therefore they fall outside of our scope.

We've had a few questions over the months which are asking how to preserve food. I've posted a few of them below, but there's probably a couple I've missed.

How do I decelerate the ripening of bananas?

How to keep bread fresher for longer

How can I keep cookies from going stale as long as possible?

How to make washed fruit last longer in the refrigerator?

As of this posting, all of these questions are open. However, I believe they should all be closed, because asking how to preserve food doesn't fall within our scope.

From our On-Topic page:

Lifehacks is a place to ask about seemingly intractable, stubborn problems that need a bit of thinking "outside the box". If our question is…

  • seeking uncommon solutions to common problems;
  • asking for unusual ways of using everyday objects to achieve a certain task or solve a specific problem;
  • looking for simple and practical tips to life's everyday problems that may not have an obvious solution

Food preservation questions fail to meet any of these criteria. They're looking for common solutions to common problems, they're not asking for unusual ways to use everyday problems, and the methods for preserving food are obvious.

The list of things Lifehacks isn't about is listed further down on the on-topic page, and it reads:

and it is NOT about…

  • conventional "how to…" questions about skills that can commonly be learned elsewhere;
  • using products in the way they were designed to be used (e.g. keyboard shortcuts, obscure features, how to get your smartphone to do {x});
  • "mind hacks" including personal productivity & self-improvement tips, memorization & learning techniques, etc;
  • contrived challenges that reject easy and readily available solutions simply to make the problem "more interesting"

Of these four items, the first two apply. Methods for preserving food can easily be learned by looking around on the internet (Wikipedia has a fairly lengthy page on a whole bunch of different food preservation methods), and the methods for preserving food are just using products in the way they were intended.

Finally, at the end of our on-topic page is the following:

Lifehacks SE is NOT a place to ask your everyday "how to…" questions. If your question amounts to learning a craft, or gaining some expertise in a skill you simply do not possess, your question may not be on topic here.

This rule applies here. Food preservation is an everyday problem people face, but its not something that requires a Lifehack. Therefore, food preservation questions should be off-topic.

Remember, we're Lifehacks.SE not EverydayLiving.SE.

  • 7
    This is a discussion. Not a feature request, not a bug. – Unionhawk May 7 '15 at 12:08
11

I disagree.

tl;dr: If the OP can show why the "common" or even "obvious" solution doesn't work, the question is more than welcome.

Now for a full answer...


In your post:

Food preservation questions fail to meet any of these criteria. They're looking for common solutions to common problems, they're not asking for unusual ways to use everyday problems, and the methods for preserving food are obvious.

Defining what is and what isn't a "common solution" is rather subjective, so I think it ought to be rare that we close a question merely stating "the obvious solution is obvious".

  • They are asking for unusual ways to solve the problem. Almost the same as the prior, but I'll use this question for an example. The OP says "I've heard that freezing the bread is a good alternative, but I'd like to steer clear of that". They're not looking for the common solution.

  • "[T]he methods for preserving food are obvious"? This is a false assumption. This is like saying everybody can name the three branches of the United States federal government. Only 40% can identify and name them. While I do agree there are common solutions to most problems, saying that every solution is "obvious" is a huge assumption.

There are many situations in which the common solution is not helpful. Providing the OP can show why, the question is more than welcome.

6

I agree.

Food preservation is almost always doing a few things to the food:

  • Keeping it away from oxygen (i.e., in an airtight container)
  • Keeping it cold/at the right temperature (i.e., in a fridge)
  • Keeping it away from light
  • Keeping it dry

Anything beyond that I'd class as expert cooking knowledge, not expert lifehacks knowledge. I would say questions on how to preserve food are off-topic on this site (but maybe on-topic on Seasoned Advice, which would be a much better place to ask), but, more specific questions like "How can I keep milk cool while my fridge is broken" (i.e., a non-conventional answer is required) are on-topic.

  • 1
    Furthermore anything non-standard runs the risk of being unsafe, and the folks at Seasoned Advice would be more likely (I believe) to be able to identify the potential hazards involved. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas May 14 '15 at 18:13
  • 1
    Questions with problems which can be solved with existing hardware need hardware, not a lifehack. Wouldn't that alone make it off-topic already? – Mast May 15 '15 at 7:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .