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Can Special Food Storage Containers Keep Your Produce Fresh Longer?


Consumer Reports looks at the best ways to store your fruits and vegetables


Of all our favorite foods, fruits and vegetables are the most likely to end up in the garbage. Consumers throw out well over a quarter of the produce they buy. Knowing that, certain manufacturers of food-storage containers are making claims that their products can prolong the life of fruits and veggies by anywhere from 33 to 80 percent. We bought seven preservation systems with freshness claims and tested them. We followed the directions for each, adding water where indicated and setting vents to the proper position.

We also kept some produce samples in their original containers. Although clamshells and other containers might seem flimsy, some forethought has gone into their design, says Julia Collin Davison, the executive editor of the book division and co-host of the America's Test Kitchen shows on PBS. And some produce does better when left alone, especially if handling it can cause bruising.


For our tests, we bought supermarket containers of strawberries, raspberries, and two kinds of lettuce—mesclun mix and heads of leaf lettuce. We transferred produce to containers made by Debbie Meyer, Oxo, Prep­works, and Rubber­maid, and kept some in original containers. We put the strawberries in one refrigerator, the lettuce in another, and so on, with one original container in the produce drawer with an ExtraLife Produce Saver disc and a second (our control) in the main compartment. The third original container of each type went into the main compartment of a dual-­evaporator fridge.

Then we waited, checking every few days during the next two weeks to see how the produce looked, smelled, and felt. In the first week, certain containers extended produce life a bit, but none were much better than the original containers. After two weeks none of the food was good enough to eat.
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