Make it Last: Produce Storage Bags

There are several ways to preserve your produce and even make it last for two or more weeks.  When I first started buying shares from HomeGrown, I was an every-other-weeker, trying my best to use the enormous amount of fruits and veggies before the next box arrived.

I have since become gotten used to using produce quickly.  I’ve to train myself to use what’s in the fridge.  Guilt is my main motivator.   “I’ve already paid for it.  If I don’t use it I’m wasting money and food.”  Guilt pushed me to find creative ways to cook old favorites and new ways to cook  what I didn’t necessarily like or hadn’t tried.  I’m now in the habit of ordering weekly.

Still, I want my produce to last as long as possible just in case I don’t get around to cooking it.  I’ll tell you my methods and materials and let you decide for yourself.

I’ve experimented with 3 brands of “green bags” – or storage bags with the purpose of prolonging the life of fruits and vegetables.  They work by removing the gas given off by ripening produce. Kept in the bag, that gas makes the remaining produce ripen more quickly.

  1. Debbie Meyer Green Bags are by far the best, but also the priciest at $10 for about 16 bags (small and large sizes).  They are reusable if you clean and dry them between each use.  They do not zip closed – you have to use the twist ties provided.  I’ve notice that, even though the produce looks very fresh, some of the fresh taste has disappeared after the first week.  They are sold in Publix, but not with the rest of the plastic bags.  I’ve found them in the produce section or near the plastic storage tubs.
  2. Hefty has a produce bag that works for some vegetables and fruits – but not all.  Read the label carefully to make sure they will preserve the ones you need.  They build up condensation easily which allows mold to grow more quickly.  These are also reusable and can be found with the other plastic storage bags.
  3. My favorite is the Ziplock brand of produce bags (pictured above).  They are made with tiny holes that let the gas and condensation escape.  I’ve notices less molding.  They seem to preserve produce and flavor well, but not as long as Debbie Meyer Green Bags.  You can find them with the other plastic storage bags.

Regardless of the method you use, make sure your produce is dry before you put it in the bag.  Do not wash it or cut it unless you plan to use it quickly.  In this case –  you don’t need a green bag.

Remember that there are also produce storage containers and some fruits and veggies keep better in paper bags, refrigerator produce drawers, or just sitting on the shelf.  More on that next time…

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