Monday, July 11, 2011

Do those "produce-life-extending" bags REALLY work?

We've moved to www.cupcakesandcutlery.com - you'll be redirected to this post in a moment.

You guys! I'm not sure if you know this about me but I totally strive to be healthy.  No really.  (I hear the laughing.)  Yes, I like junk food with artificial colors and flavors (Cheeto fingers don't just happen in nature, people, it takes science) but I am conscious of the junk as I eat it.  I also worry about things like "off-gases," BPA's, and hormones in my meat.  BUT I'm not ready to make the total switch over to a brand new lifestyle.  I'm "flirting" with it (see that reference totally comes from Alicia Silverstone's book 'The Kind Diet' which I read parts of...)  And while this post isn't party related, I am always looking for new ways to keep my produce longer and thought you might be too.


My friend Katie, recently started a blog, How to Heal a Cowboy, about all this natural stuff (read more about why she started the blog here, its a compelling story).  She's totally awesome.  I asked her to review these Clearly Fresh Bags for me as I KNOW that her kitchen looks like a farmer's market with all her fruits and veggies.  I love her writing style and how she can give all kinds of info without it being too dry or above my head.  If you want to read more about how to have a healthy life style, check out her blog,

And now, Katie's review of the bags:


My assignment:  find out if the life-extending bags made for fresh produce really do what they claim: 

"...to keep fresh fruits and vegetables deliciously fresh - longer!"

Being that I have two over-loaded produce drawers in my fridge every week, I went in hopeful, longing to rid myself of ever having to throw away another vegetable that had been bought with good intentions (of course I'll eat one whole head of broccoli each day??).

I read the directions: "put fresh, dry, un-cooked produce into the bag....gently push out some of the air from the bag....zip the top closed....store your produce as usual." Simple enough.

Then I opened the package and took out a bag. Issue number one: the smell. Being that I blog about health, I'm always on the look-out for what I would describe as "not-so-natural" things to avoid. So when I smelled the chemical-like scent coming from the bag my first thought was that there was no way I would let my food come in direct contact with this bag - I paid good money for organic, why toxify now?

Enter bananas (with thick skin).

I bought two bunches of bananas with the same level of ripeness and put one bunch into the Clearly Fresh bag. I examined the sticker on the outside of the bag and thought, "oh technology, do your thing." I hoped. I waited. And seven days later, with a camera in one hand and my banana bread recipe in the other...

...the sticker had apparently worked and the bagged banana bunch had its 'yellow' intact. (I did have a short fantasy of wearing the bag over my face while I slept to slow down the "ripening" of my skin, but decided against the idea. Lawyer disclaimer : the previous line was meant to get a cheap laugh and in no way should anyone even attempt to prevent wrinkles with Clearly Fresh bags over their face).

Issue number two: when I picked up the bagged bananas to photograph the results, they felt rather, squishy. Hmmm. I double checked the directions to make sure I didn't miss anything...nope. Seems that the bag prevented the oxidation (browning) of the banana, but (in my case) sped-up the ripening process! So much so that I couldn't even make banana bread with them and they had to be thrown away.

What a bummer. To give Clearly Fresh Bags some credit I did only test bananas and I'm sure (kind of) that they may work for other fruits and vegetables better. But as stated before, I would never let my produce touch the bags directly anyway (maybe avocados?). Are they at least BPA-free, you ask?? Not that I can find on their website or on their packaging.

Conclusion:
  • Save your money by not buying bags that can extend the outside of your produce- no head of romaine lettuce is asking to be the "Joan Rivers" of your vegetable community
  • I would avoid exposing your produce to toxic-smelling plastics
  • Is our fresh produce meant to have an extended shelf-life? I think the closer you eat it from the time you cut it from its root or source, the better. Nature has told us in a lot of other ways not to mess with its design. If peaches last five days, I'm cool with that, because that's what they're designed to do.
Care to experiment?  Clearly Fresh Bags can be purchased (in packs of 10 one gallon bags) for $3.99.

In the meantime, I'll be eating this from my banana bunch that was "au-natural."

-Katie












I planned on testing these bags out myself as well.  But I keep forgetting to put the fruit in the bag when I buy it.  Lame.  I don't remember the toxic smell that Katie found but then again, I just may be immune to it because I am sure it is all around me.  I, 100%, agree with Katie's assessment that maybe we aren't meant to stretch out the life of things.  I know that the BreatheWay technology is often found on bagged vegetables found in the stores where business and money come in to play so an extended life is desirable.  I emailed the company and asked them about some of Katie's questions.  Here is their answer:


Regarding the membrane - it is comprised of a several polymers.  BreatheWay (or the square sticker on each bag) is much like a very porous film with a specialized coating that allows for specific permeability.  This technology is a passive modified atmosphere technology meaning that it acts as a selective screen for oxygen and carbon dioxide – introducing nothing of it’s own to the package environment (i.e.: the membrane is not designed to release chemicals into the bag – merely rate the natural flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide into and out of the bag).  
Clearly Fresh re-closeable bags nor BreatheWay technology contain BPA’s.

So there you have it.  Many of us are not as committed to the healthy way of life like Katie, and I would entertain giving these bags a shot.  Make up your own mind based on where you fall on the healthy living spectrum.  I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this subject.  

And if you have a minute hop over to Katie's blog and give her some encouragement.  I appreciate her helping me out with this post! 

Sharon
Images are Katie's  

1 comment:

Victoria said...

Good to know, I'm such a sucker for advertising, I probably would have purchased some of these.

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