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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Make your produce last longer

You purchase fresh fruits and vegetables with the best intentions. You plan to use up all the lettuce, broccoli, and strawberries before your next shopping trip -- before they become old, stinky and inedible in your refrigerator.

And then, your week gets the best of you. All of a sudden, your fresh produce is rotting produce and you have to throw it out.

I have a solution to this problem!

It all started about 12 years ago when I was first introduced to Peakfresh bags.



The company’s founders had developed a mineral-coated, perforated bag designed to keep produce fresher during shipping and in home refrigerators, and they came to Frieda’s, since we’ve always been open to new products and ideas.

Because I have to prove everything to myself first, I took the bags home and tested them out with two clamshells of fresh strawberries. I put one strawberry package straight in the refrigerator, and I put the other one inside the Peakfresh bag, then into the refrigerator.

I was impressed. Even after two weeks, the strawberries inside the Peakfresh bag were PERFECT compared to the shriveled up, molding regular strawberries. Then I tested the bags with fresh broccoli, and the same thing happened.

As it frequently happens in the business world, we were “ahead of our time.” Although we enthusiastically introduced these shelf-life extending bags to our supermarket customers, the concept did not catch on.
What did catch on however, were commercial-sized bags. The company went on to develop bags to wrap entire shipments of fresh produce, such as strawberries and chile peppers, to keep them fresh during cross-country transit. Several other companies have gotten into the business, and this segment of the industry is booming.

Then a few weeks ago I saw a display of my beloved Peakfresh consumer-sized bags at my local Sprouts Market. I was thrilled, and I purchased a box of 10. (If your local market doesn’t have them, you can buy them on the Peakfresh website.) The great thing about these bags is that you can reuse them – just rinse them out and let them dry. I call them my new best friend.

If you are concerned about wasting food, or have a hard time scheduling in fresh produce shopping during the week, I encourage you to try these bags. They are a life saver.

Or really – a produce saver!

Karen

6 comments:

  1. Hi Karen,

    Glad you love your Peak fresh bags, but I think you are being under critical. Did you compare Peak Fresh bags to other plastic bags, or did you compare Peak Fresh to no bag? Years ago when I worked at UC Davis we tested Peak Fresh bags and many other similar bags that contained dispersed clay materials in the plastic matrix. We found no difference between any of these bags and various other plain plastic bags. The main effect in terms of enhancing shelf life appeared to be that they prevented moisture loss, as any plastic bag will do. They may also generate a modified atmosphere, which would probably be great for strawberries and broccoli, but may be harmful to lettuce, apples and many other products. If you like Peak fresh bags, by all means buy them, but any plastic bag with small holes might do as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peakfresh Produce Bags will not be harmful to lettuce, apples nor any other produce. It sets up the atomosphere for the particular product. In addition the Peakfresh film features: Excellent permeability to gases • Good food deodorizing properties • Removes ethylene gas and has some minimal absorption capacity • Anti-fog treatment to reduce water formation • Maintenance of high humidity levels to limit produce weight loss • Fact..when people use the Peakfresh Prodcue Bags they will certainly be amazed at how long their produce last and how fresh it smells and taste!

      Delete
  2. Hi Devon,
    I’ve always appreciated your honesty and scientific perspective. In addition to Peakfresh, there are several other companies that have also been successful with their products and shelf-life extending qualities (under the right circumstances). Of course, I am not a scientist, so I don't know the technicalities. Consumers always have a choice as to what they purchase, and for me, these bags have made a positive difference. Hope you’re doing well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for a great tip, Karen. I have used bags similar to PeakFresh with good results, especially with carrots and bell peppers. My understanding is the material neutralizes the gases generated during the ripening process, thus lengthening the shelf life.
    Here is another helpful idea to store fresh herbs:
    http://www.healthymealsmadeeasily.com/blog/?p=155

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Tom. It’s always good to hear your comments and glad you have had a similar experience.

    ReplyDelete
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