Do you use green food saver bags as a way to make food last longer? Here are some ideas to make produce last.
We all want to minimize waste and lower our grocery bills, right? We can achieve this to some degree by preventing our produce from spoiling before we’re ready to consume these food items. This was one interesting question that brought up many good responses at the Wesabe forum discussions. One community member wonders whether green food saver bags (as seen on TV) were worth purchasing. I can only assume that she was referring to the “Debbie Meyer Green Bags” that are hawked in infomercials, the greenbags.com web site, the Home Shopping Network and other channels.
These green bags are intended to slow the decay of fresh fruits and vegetables when you put them in storage. The claim is that these bags will prolong the life of your perishables by absorbing any gas released by the food items. The ethylene gas released by fruits and vegetables actually speeds up the ripening process. At last check, 20 bags were going for about $10 plus $7 for shipping — that’s $17 for 20 bags or around 85 cents a bag!
Now, it would be great if something can be done to make our produce last longer, but are the bags worth the money? Would the “investment” in these bags be offset by the money you save when you prevent produce from spoiling?
How To Make Food Last Longer
Some responses to this question have come from the Wesabe community:
1. The best way to keep food from going bad? More frequent trips to the farmer’s market or the grocery store. Also, buy what’s in season as they will last longer, will taste better and will usually cost less!
2. Go for grocery delivery if you can, which will bring your produce to your doorstep, cut down on your shopping time and save you money on gas. A delivery service like Door To Door Organics in Michigan or in Orlando would help.
3. Consumer Reports claims that the green bags don’t do the job. They performed a test using a variety of fruits and vegetables stored in various ways: they stored the foods in the green bags, in regular Ziploc bags, on a counter, in a fridge and in plastic supermarket bags. They got unfavorable results for the green bags except when it involved bananas, as they report here:
From Consumer Reports: We saw green inside the Green Bags, but often it was mold. Blackberries became moldy after three weeks, strawberries and basil after a month, and peppers and tomatoes after five weeks. It was a tough test, but the same foods stored in other ways nearly always had less mold or none after the same time. Only bananas fared significantly better in Green Bags: After two weeks, they were firm and had not turned black.
4. Some people freeze their fruits and vegetables and say that thawed berries and frozen banana pops taste great. Hmmm…. maybe I should try this out!
5. Some ways to keep herbs longer: store them in olive oil, or blend them with a bit of water, puree then freeze them into ice cubes.
6. If you store food in Ziploc bags, make sure you date your bags so you know how long something has been sitting in your fridge. Wrap food items loosely in paper towels before putting them in bags, and wash the items right before you consume them, not before you store them.
7. Freeze foods or be creative with your items, especially when you notice them going ripe. Preserve them in jars or include them in cakes and pastries to make them last.
8. Consider using reusable glass jars and recyclable plastic containers for storage instead of plastic bags as a “greener” solution and as a way to save money as well.
If you’ve got additional ideas on how to make your perishables take on a longer shelf-life, do share!
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