Keeping Produce Fresh

Produce can look so beautiful and irresistible in the store, but fresh fruit and veggies are fragile. Those ripe berries can easily turn to this.

One told us, "It's like the sacrifice you got to make to have fresh vegetables."

Another said, "I try to buy a little at a time, but then I find run out and then that's also annoying, so it's like hard to balance."

A new product called FreshPaper promises to keep fruits and veggies fresh two to four times longer … and organically at that.

Gayle Williams with Consumer Reports found, "It's made from a mixture of spices, including fenugreek, which supposedly inhibits bacteria growth."

Consumer Reports wanted to check it out.

Testers placed two sets of blueberries and strawberries with FreshPaper into this fridge - one set in its original store packaging, the other in airtight plastic containers.

In a different fridge, the same set of berries but no FreshPaper.

Testers checked the fruit every day. The FreshPaper did not appear to have any effect on the blueberries.

After two weeks ALL the blueberries looked pretty much the same - no matter which container.

The strawberries in their original store packaging without FreshPaper showed some mold growth.

The strawberries with the FreshPaper didn't have any mold, BUT they were starting to spoil - same as the berries without the paper.

As for the strawberries in the airtight containers … nearly three weeks later, the ones with the FreshPaper and the ones without the FreshPaper showed signs of spoilage.

Gayle believes, "Your best bet to store fresh produce is to put it in a cool, dry place. And no matter how good it looks in the store, resist the urge to buy more than you need."

Consumer Reports says the fenugreek used in FreshPaper is a legume - like peanuts - which can have similar allergens.

That could be a problem if you're allergic to peanuts.

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