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The Banana and the “Clearly Fresh Bag” Experiment

[1]As a vegetarian household, we naturally tend to keep around a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables around the kitchen. I’ll admit, though, I’ve been known to be wooed by the selection at the farmers market and then not get around to using the produce before it goes bad. I truly need the help to extend the life of vegetables so it doesn’t all go to waste. Apparently, I’m not alone. It has recently been reported that up to 40% of food is wasted and thrown away [2] by Americans.

I have really been working on my produce over-purchasing habits so I don’t buy too much. (I think sometimes I have more motivation to cook when I’m at the store, but then life gets in the way.)  Of course, the folks in the “storage technology field” have put their heads together and figured out ways to extend the life of vegetables sitting on your counter or in your fridge. So, I have used everything from the little disks [3] that you put in your vegetable to the life extending zip-top bags. And, from what I can tell, they do work.

Several months ago, I received some samples of these produce extending bags from the kind folks at Clearly Fresh Bags. [4]

These bags have some sort of “BreatheWay” technology that pushes the carbon dioxide out while keeping the right level of oxygen in. That balance helps fruits and veggies last a little longer.

Armed with these bags, I wanted to figure out if they really worked. So, I channeled my inner 7th grader and came up with the classic science project to test the bags: “Will a Banana Last Longer in a Clearly Fresh Bag or Outside of It?”

I selected two bananas of the same ripeness. Placed one in the bag and one was just left to the elements next to the bag. I used the gallon sized bag which could comfortably fit a bunch of bananas and not just one.

[5]And then I let the march of time go on…

And, on…

You can see the difference, even starting at day four, that the banana in the bag had fewer brown spots on the outside. By day seven, that became even more noticeable.

But, what you can’t see in the picture above is that the bagged banana grew a little fuzzy hairdo on the top of the stem. Um, ew. Fortunately, it didn’t make it down to the fruity part, so, luckily, the taste test could go on as planned. (I am nothing but brave for my dear readers, but not going to chance it with fuzzy fuzzy mold bits…)

I peeled the skin and noticed that the insides looked almost the same. Both had slight discoloring and were a little mushy to the touch in a few areas. But, after biting into each, the biggest different was that the bagged banana did taste a lot fresher than the un-bagged banana.

Do these bags work better than other brands? I can’t really say. But, in this particular experiment, they did work to keep the banana fresher than the banana that stayed outside the bag. I’ve been able to keep lettuce, beans, strawberrys and broccoli a little longer in unscientific experiments using the bags. So, I can say that at $3.99 for 10 re-useable bags, they really are not much of an investment to keep your fruit and veg around a little longer. And, perhaps, with products like these, we all can work towards throwing out less food.