Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Trends
Can a special bag keep your produce fresh longer?
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Barton County University of Missouri Extension
You’ve probably seen the advertisements on television for the special green bags that you place your produce in when you get home from the store and it miraculously stays fresh for longer periods of time. Many people have bought and used them yet others are wary and don’t want to spend the money to find out if they work. Interestingly, if you read reviews of the bag, you will find that about half of the people who have used them say they work and the other half say they don’t.
If you go to the Green BagŪ web site, (www.greenbags.com) it explains how the Green BagsŪ work. They slow down the ripening process by removing the ethylene gas that is produced by fruits and vegetables. They describe a region in Japan where farmers have been storing produce in caves with amazing results. The thought is that the preservation properties came from a clay called “oya” which the cave mountain was made of. Oya is thought to absorb ethylene gas.
According to USDA’s Agriculture Research Service, ethylene gas is the ripening agent naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. Of course, if it causes them to ripen, it can cause them to over-ripen. The more the produce ripens the more ethylene gas it produces. This makes it sound logical that getting rid of the ethylene gas would help prevent fruits and vegetables from over ripening.
There are articles published on the web by newspapers and television stations with a mixed bag of results. The September 2008 issue of ShopSmart;), a Consumer Reports magazine has a report on a test they did with the Green BagsŪ. In their experiment, they purchased apples, asparagus, bananas, basil, berries, broccoli, carrots, grapes, lettuce and tomatoes. Each food was stored in the Green BagsŪ and then some of the produce was stored in Ziploc bags and some in the free plastic bags you get in the produce section at the grocery store.
The only fruit that looked better after two week of storage in a Green BagŪ was the bananas. The other fruits and vegetables stored in the Ziploc or free plastic bags had less mold or none at all compared with the Green BagsŪ.
People who have used the Green BagsŪ with success stress
that they must be used correctly and that includes making
sure the food is very dry in the bag. Some people even
recommended putting a paper towel in the bag to assure
humidity is reduced. Of course, any time you store fresh
produce, whether in the refrigerator or not, the
recommendation for best storage life is that it be placed in
a cool, dry place.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009