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Debbie Meyer Green Bags for produce - Any Good? [Moved from General Topics]

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Diane in Bexley Jul 6, 2008 10:28 AM

OK, so you can tell it's a holiday weekend and I have been up late watching lots of cable TV. Have never bought any of the gizmos or gadgets I constantly see advertised (Ronco anything, Gunzu knives, etc.), don't believe in uni taskers. But....with only 2 of us home now and I can't seem to be able to cut down on shopping for 4, plus we like variety in produce, I have been throwing away expensive berries, peaches, plums, etc. that just linger and get overripe. Saw these bags in the grocery store as well. Do they work? Anyone willing to give a testimonial (yeah or nay?) Really curious. If this doesn't work, how do you extend produce shelf life?

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  1. Chuckles the Clone RE: Diane in Bexley Jul 6, 2008 08:51 PM

    There are a bunch of other threads on this subject here. I'm in the "no way, these
    couldn't possibly work" camp. On the other hand, none other than Jim Leff came out
    semi- in favor of one variety of these things:
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/471104

    From what I can tell, what's going on behind all the warning-sign pseudo-science is
    that these bags contain a substance which does a minor to middling job of absorbing
    ethylene. Ethylene is a very simple hydrocarbon given off when some vegetables age.
    Additionally the presence of ethylene -causes- the aging of certain vegetables. So
    by absorbing it, they slow down the aging of those vegetables which are sensitive to it.
    (and do nothing whatsoever for vegetables which are not sensitive).

    I managed to dig up a couple of interesting papers on the subject. Farmers and produce
    transporters and merchants would love to find a product that increases the shelf life
    of vegetables. The less they have to throw away, the more money they make. So
    naturally, agricultural universities have done research into ethylene absorbing films.
    Here's a paper from the University of California which concludes that they do not
    work: http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/datast...

    Even if they did, they would only have an effect on vegetables which are ethylene
    sensitive. Again, the University of California agriculture school has info on some of them:
    http://www.ethylenecontrol.com/techni...

    Here's a long, long thread from a little while ago on the subject:
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/500731

    All those things you mentioned going bad on you can be cooked down into
    nice compotes and stored for quite a while and eaten on ice cream, pancakes, etc.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chuckles the Clone
      rworange RE: Chuckles the Clone Jul 8, 2008 07:42 AM

      Things last a surprisingly long time even in a plain old plastic container. These products make claims, people pay attention and ... wow ... look at that ... my produce lasted a week.

      However, the truth is that the item would have lasted that long anyway. I did this test where I did a side by side test of three different containers. A plain old glass jar was the clear winner, while the fancy, dancy 'miracle' container was neck in neck with plain old Rubbermaid containers

      The final results – cheap Glass Jars vs. Rubbermaid vs. FresherLonger food storage containers
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/324342

      I read that long thread on Debbie Meyer bags where one poster concluded that she wasn't that impressed. I like your point in there about being wary of keeping your produce in bags that might have some unknown chemical that they were absorbing.

      That being said, one of these days I might give those ExtraLife disks a try ... but I'd be doing side-by-side comparisons with other storage methods. However, I wouldn't bother with things like berries that last way longer than I sometimes want them to.

      1. re: rworange
        Chuckles the Clone RE: rworange Jul 8, 2008 09:48 AM

        I was hoping someone would come along and demolish these things with a little common sense and it turns out you did it long ago. Wow.

        What's particularly insidious about these bags is that under certain circumstances they actually can work. Though not because of the expensive ancient silver nanoparticles. If someone were accustomed to just tossing all their vegetables together into the fridge and then spent a hundred bucks on this plastic film and started mindfully separating and wrapping things, they would definitely see results. The problem comes when they attribute the results to Debbie Meyer rather than the mindfully separating and wrapping.

        Some things are very sensitive to ethylene but don't produce it; kiwi fruits for example. Other things produce a lot of it but aren't sensitive; apples for one. Many things are neither sensitive not producers. Some, like bananas, are both. So if you take a kiwi fruit and refrigerate it alone it will easily last for a month. If you throw an apple in there with it, it will be gone in less than a week.

        So if you take a Debbie Meyer Green Bag (tm) and stick the kiwi fruit into it and put the bagged kiwi and the apple into the refrigerator, because the kiwi is now isolated from the ethylene produced by the apple it's going to last a month. And the person who did it is going to be very happy with their purchase. On the other hand, if you were to bag the apple and put it in the fridge with an unbagged kiwi, exactly the same thing is going to happen: since the ethylene from the apple can't get to the kiwi, the kiwi is going to last for a month. But the person who did it might not even notice the kiwi, since they're paying attention to the apple which had no change in lifespan.

        And of course, exactly the same effect would have been produced by simply reusing the free bags from the store you brought things home in. Your experiment seems to confirm that.

        1. re: Chuckles the Clone
          rworange RE: Chuckles the Clone Jul 8, 2008 10:24 AM

          Yeah, actually that's what I do with lettuce and get 2 weeks out of them ... plain old plastic grocery bags.

          The variable is also where you buy your produce. A farmers market, just-picked item will last longer than something from the supermarket that's been sitting a few days ... and drenched in water.

          Still, even with supermarket strawberries in prime condition I get two weeks in glass jars ... gotta be glass, not plastic. There's this whole thing in one of my many threads about strawberries aspirating ... or something like that. What you are doing with the glass jar is creating a little terrarium for the berries.

          1. re: rworange
            w
            walker RE: rworange Jul 8, 2008 05:36 PM

            Yes, I really dislike when markets spray the produce. Andronico in SF is remodeling, looking really good but too much spraying on the produce and it'll rot faster. I like Monterrey Market in Berkeley but it's gas and a bridge toll and because of my work schedule, I cannot make it to those great farmer's markets.

            1. re: walker
              rworange RE: walker Jul 8, 2008 06:27 PM

              Chinese and Mexican markets often don't spray ... but it is not usually the same quality of an Andronico's.

              Here's a list of all the farmers in SF. Maybe one of these will be accesable to you
              http://www.cafarmersmarkets.com/find-...

    2. w
      walker RE: Diane in Bexley Jul 7, 2008 02:17 PM

      In my opinion, they really work. Produce last at least 3 times longer. I wash, dry and reuse the bags MANY times. You can find them at Bed, Bath & Beyond -- use their discount coupons. If you really don't like them, return it with receipt.

      1. rworange RE: Diane in Bexley Jul 7, 2008 08:08 PM

        As far as berries ... put them in a glass jar in the fridge. They will last for 2 weeks.

        2 Replies
        1. re: rworange
          w
          walker RE: rworange Jul 7, 2008 11:17 PM

          In a glass jar with the lid fastened on?

          1. re: walker
            rworange RE: walker Jul 8, 2008 07:26 AM

            yep

            More on Preserving Berries in a Jar
            http://www.chow.com/digest/799

            I'm currently enjoying some blueberries I bought 10 days ago and they are as good as the day I bought them. It actually reverses deterioration on rastpberries. At most, I could never keep raspberries more than a day or two. Put them in a glass jar and raspberries will last at least a week in perfect condition. The fragile berries from the farmers market that barely make it home will firm up in a glass jar and at least last a few days where otherwise the next morning they were a mushy mess.

        2. j
          JOJOGIRL RE: Diane in Bexley Jul 8, 2008 08:22 AM

          Any produce in a bag will rot.
          Produce should be washed, dried, wrapped in a paper towel and placed in fridge. Just don't forget that its there!
          Never put produce in a bag!!!!!

          7 Replies
          1. re: JOJOGIRL
            Candy RE: JOJOGIRL Jul 8, 2008 09:13 AM

            My green onions last much longer in a plastic bag instead of going limp in a few days in the crisper bag. So does celery and head lettuce.

            Debbie Meyer Green Bags gave bananas on the counter top longer life. The do work well for somethings and not so well for others. Consumer Reports just said the same thing. I've been playing/testing Freshvac containers and one kept raspberries about a week beautifully, kept cherry tomatoes on my counter top about 2 weeks. I used the tightly closed jar for some small locally produced organic strawberries. A week is about the best I got.

            1. re: Candy
              Chuckles the Clone RE: Candy Jul 16, 2008 02:24 PM

              That's almost, but not quite, what Consumer Reports said. What they said is,
              -only- bananas have any sign of increased life. Everything else they tried molded *sooner* in a Debbie Meyer bag. Here's a link to their brief story:

              http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/fo...

              1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                w
                walker RE: Chuckles the Clone Jul 16, 2008 05:37 PM

                Well, I no longer trust Consumer Reports then. I'm not delusional and do not like to waste $$. My produce lasts at least 3 times longer.

                1. re: walker
                  rworange RE: walker Aug 15, 2008 10:43 PM

                  That's not the results that Good Morning America got
                  http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Consumer/st...

                  "They do keep things fresher, but not by such a huge margin that it's worth my extra money for the bags"

                  Have you tested the same produce using different methods? By that I mean the exact same basket of strawberries or whatever. Otherwise there are a lot of variables.

                  When I did that it was surprising that plain plastic storage containers worked just as well as some of the fancy alternatives.

                  Candy, as far as the strawberries, I hope you didn't leave them on the counter like the tomatoes. Also, only glass works, not plastic. Have you tried wrapping celery in aluminum foil? It will last well over a month. Someone said in another thread that aluminum foil works for cucumbers too.

                  1. re: rworange
                    a
                    amselby81 RE: rworange Aug 16, 2008 09:19 PM

                    I'm curious. If they work so well, why are there so many negetive reviews about it, on amazon.com? I've been going back and forth about whether I want to buy them. My husband doesn't eat fresh fruits and vegetables (says it's a texture thing), and I surely can't eat enough so that I don't end up with some rotten produce. If these work, then I'd love to try them, but I'm just a tad skeptical, after reading those reviews, and now I see that Consumer Reports gives it a negative review,too.

                    1. re: amselby81
                      w
                      walker RE: amselby81 Aug 18, 2008 12:19 AM

                      Buy them at Bed Bath & Beyond. Use discount coupon. If you end up not liking them, just return them. BBB is really great about returns. I swear my produce lasts MUCH longer. Take a chance and try them out for yourself.

                    2. re: rworange
                      Boccone Dolce RE: rworange Aug 18, 2008 03:42 PM

                      I wonder just how old the produce is I get from the grocery store. If I can't make it to the little indie farmers market downtown, I have to get from the supermarket, I pay dollars more per pound and it rots the next day. I've had such wonderful results with the green bags, they thrill me and I told 2 people at work who are already owners (then I smacked them for not telling me!)
                      Real or imagined, my experience is that these things do work. I don't have room in my fridge for glass containers but I remember your thread on the strawberries rworange, and I've wanted to try so next time they are in season I will.
                      I feel like walker-I'm not delusional (well, mostly not) and my produce lasts longer in these bags. This from the girl who isn't afraid to admit it if she gets scammed (like the time I bought an exercise video that promises to show you how to breathe and lose weight. Umm hummmm....)

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