The Thanksgiving holiday may have you stocking up... buying more fruits and vegetables than normal. The tough part is keeping that expensive produce fresh. The Debbie Meyer Green Bags claim they can save you money by keeping your food fresh, longer.
We wanted to find out... Does It Really Do That?
Our experiment starts in the kitchen using various fruits and vegetables and a $10 box of Debbie Meyer Green Bags.
We divided the produce into two groups. One went into separate Debbie Meyer Green Bags. The other was stored like normal.
Bananas were set out on the counter as recommended by dietitians. The rest was put in the refrigerator crisper drawer.
We followed the green bag directions, making sure all the fruits and veggies were dry. When moisture built up, we wiped the inside of the bag with a paper towel.
We also didn't use twist ties to close off the bags. The directions say they can damage them.
The green bags' claim to fame: absorbing and removing ethylene gas. It's a hormone released by fruits and vegetables.
A scientist who tests the bags says, by slowing down the release of that gas the bags slow down the deterioration of produce after they're picked.
At two weeks the bananas stored in the green bags looked much better than those stored naturally on the counter.
And at three weeks the lettuce and broccoli in the Debbie Meyer Bags were also firmer and brighter in color than those stored in regular, plastic bags.
So our unscientific study found the claims on the box are accurate.
We asked registered dietitian Dr. Jackie Berning, the chair of the Biology department at UCCS what she thinks about the bags.
She says, "They work and I think they work for certain fruits and vegetables that have higher ethylene gas."
Dr. Berning says certain fruits and vegetables produce more ethylene gas and may last longer in the green bags than those that produce less gas.
She says stone fruits or fruits with a pit would probably do better, like peaches, plums, and apricots as well as other, high ethylene gas producers like avocados, bananas, and apples.
But Dr. Berning says you can keep produce fresh yourself by simply keeping out moisture and lowering the temperature.
Dr. Berning says, "You can do the same thing by putting it in the refrigerator, slowing down the production of ethylene gas, storing it with less water so the water doesn't go in there and make the opportunity for mold and spores.... lowering the humidity, making sure it's dry when it goes in there, and again cooling it down."
Dr. Berning says the mistake we made was not wiping down our produce when moisture built up in the normal, plastic bag.
She doesn't know if her suggestions will preserve fruit as long as the Debbie Meyer Green Bags, but she says it's a lot cheaper than 50 cents a bag.
She also warns against storing fruit all together on the counter top which speeds up the ripening process, producing more ethylene gas. She says separation is important.
She adds, "If I've got bananas and I've got peaches and I've got apples all in a basket, sitting on the counter... collectively I've got even more ethylene gas and they're going to ripen a whole lot faster. In case you're wondering, the box says the Debbie Meyer Green Bags can be re-used eight to ten times.