Several times I have seen green vegetable bags advertised on TV. They preserve the freshness of fruits and vegetables for an incredibly long time. However, they are quite expensive, so I would love to find an equable substitute. Can you help?
I actually ordered the Evert-Fresh Green Bags that I saw in a previous post. They were expensive ($18 for the package), but I got three sizes, a total of 30 bags, which comes to 60 cents per bag. If you use them once and throw away, it's probably not worth it. However, they are reusable. I have washed mine out a number of times, and it doesn't seem to affect them. When I think that just one bunch of celery gone bad in my refrigerator is a loss of over $1.50 (these days in NY), the bags are a very good investment. I even ordered them for friends for holiday presents. I don't work for these folks, but I'm a big fan. (And I have to walk out to the compost heap less often, too.)
Ruth in Monsey, NY
Here are some tips I have learned over years of trying desperately to not throw away veggies before I can use them up:
When buying produce at a local farmer's market, I noticed the sheets of plastic that are in the bottom of boxes of fruit. I asked if I could have a few of these. At home, I cut them in sizes to fit the inside bottoms of inexpensive plastic containers (which seem to last forever, though intended for limited use). I found very quickly that cut fruits and vegetables stored using this method seem to last forever. Recently, I read that this is because the moisture is wicked away from the produce.
Tupperware has a line of products that help keep fresh produce longer. At first, I thought these items were somewhat pricey, but shortly after purchasing one of these containers, I purchased a head of romaine lettuce from the grocery store. I then put the lettuce in the container, used it once and forgot about it. That lettuce was still fresh and usable four weeks later when I rediscovered it. I was convinced.
D in New Mexico
This isn't a substitute, but will help preserve the freshness of green vegetables when bought without the bag. My mother-in-law made a simple drawstring bag out of an old terry cloth towel. Lettuce, parsley, etc. stays fresh so long in it. It's amazing! Try it and see!
When I bring my veggies home, such as peppers, mushrooms, romaine, etc., I wrap each veggie unwashed in paper towels, put them in a store produce bag, and store them in the vegetable drawer of fridge. I wash them just before using. I find many things last for weeks instead of days.
Air and moisture are the biggest culprits to rotting vegetables. I wash my veggies and dry as much as possible. I bag them with a paper towel to get rid of more moisture. Then I put it in a resealable baggie and remove as much air as I can. Lettuce seems to last a very long time as long as it is kept dry.
As an organic gardener who picks my food right before I cook it, I see no feasible way to preserve the nutritional value of fresh vegetables indefinitely. Fresh frozen vegetables would retain many more nutrients. Keeping fresh vegetables in the refrigerator for extended periods of time does not seem like a healthy alternative, regardless of the way the vegetable looks.
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