Testing food-saving gadgets

 tomato saver

Prolonging the shelf life of produce makes sense for any number of reasons – saving money, miminimizing food waste, helping the environment, limiting trips to the grocery store, providing incentives to eat more fruits and vegetables. So food gadgets that promise to keep produce fresher longer are always tempting to buy. To help decide whether to invest in these items, The Guardian recently tested a number and published the results in The food gadgets that could save you money.  As they write:

“The past few years have seen a raft of products launched to help households squeeze a few extra days of shelf life out of perishable food items such as fruit, vegetables and bread. Bananas can now be stored in ‘vitamin-enhanced’ polyethylene bags to slow the ripening process, while you can keep your potatoes and onions in breathable polycotton drawstring sacks.

Then there are the ‘ethylene absorbing’ discs you can place in a bowl to keep your fruit fresh for longer; the polyurethane foam cushions designed to prevent fruit and veg from becoming bruised; and the silicone ‘food huggers’ into which you pop your leftover half a lemon or tomato.”

So did they work? Here is a brief summary of the results – the article explains the results more thoroughly, as well as whether they’re cost effective (for non-U.K. residents, you’ll have to read the product descriptions to find comparable products):

  • Banana Bag: It worked, keeping bananas fresher two weeks rather than the one week in unbagged bananas. 
  • Ethylene-absorbing discs: Nope
  • Polythene (“stay-fresh”) bags: They worked on broccoli, but are relatively expensive and didn’t come with a fastener
  • Fridge food saver: It worked well on half a tomato
  • Food huggers (stretchable silicone covers): Worked very well on half a lemon, plus they’re reusable as they’re washable
  • Mushroom preserving bag (breathable polycotton bag with a “blackout layer” to restrict light): Nope
  • Bread Bag (polyethylene-lined bread store bag): Definitely no – made things worse

If anyone has had any experience with food savers – esp. those that work – we’d love to hear about them.

Photo of Tomato Fridge Food Saver from Lakeland





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  • manycookbooks  on  October 14, 2013

    Interesting article! As for my comments, I have a few….please read my blog "Got Gadgets?" at kalesijablog.wordpress.com. I have several drawers full of not necessarily food savers but time savers!

  • sir_ken_g  on  October 15, 2013

    We have used "FresherLonger" silver nanoparticle impregnated zip bags. If they work at all the effect is minimal and they are expensive.

    The best thing I have found is just a ventilated ceramic jar for garlic – that you keep at room temperature. The garlic does not sprout like it does seal in the refrigerator.

  • susan g  on  October 18, 2013

    Take a saucer or jar lid, turn a cut lemon/lime, onion or tomato on it — cut side down. Refrigerate. Use over the next week or so. No cost, no problems. We do have the 'onion saver' that looks like a brown onion half and use it for all those and more, with no appreciable advantage. I have those green bags and couldn't see much advantage, though the story is charming

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