Vegetable Storage Containers

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. The bottom line: Use produce as soon as possible. That said, the containers have some convenience features and the virtue of being stackable. Here are the results of our tests.vegetable storage containers 1Consumer Reports tested seven different produce storage containers that claim to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables—including the popular Oxo Good Grips Greensaver and Rubbermaid Fresh Works containers—to see if they really keep things fresh longer. As it turns out, they’re about as effective as any other container out there. In fact, as Bernie Dietrick explains in the video above from the Consumer Reports YouTube channel, the plastic clam shells your produce usually comes pre-packed in works equally as well. That said, if you buy in bulk and want to keep a large quantity of a certain fruit or vegetable together in one container, these products may still warrant a purchase. Otherwise, just use what you get for free. Besides, according to Consumer Reports’ Ellen Klosz, what matters most is actually your refrigerator, its settings, and where you store things inside of it.vegetable storage containers 2For 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.vegetable storage containers 3Storage Bins & BasketsBed Bath & Beyond offers a wide selection of storage bins & organizers that will help keep any room in your home neat & clutter-free. Baskets, bins & containers help organize & put-aside any items & essentials you need for later use. Great for use in closets & on shelving unit, these bins & containers are available in various sizes & styles to meet your needs & complement your décor. Totes & baskets feature handles for easy lifting when container is full.vegetable storage containers 4x White Nantucket Stackable Storage Bin $99.00 Inspired by vegetable bins, you’ll find our Nantucket Stacking Storage Bin a must-have for the playroom, entryway or even the pantry. It’s ideal for corralling toys, books or shoes and up to three can be stacked to create even more storage. View Product Details »vegetable storage containers 5White Nantucket Stackable Storage Bin $99.00 Inspired by vegetable bins, you’ll find our Nantucket Stacking Storage Bin a must-have for the playroom, entryway or even the pantry. It’s ideal for corralling toys, books or shoes and up to three can be stacked to create even more storage. View Product Details »vegetable storage containers 6Inspired by vegetable bins, you’ll find our Nantucket Stacking Storage Bin a must-have for the playroom, entryway or even the pantry. It’s ideal for corralling toys, books or shoes and up to three can be stacked to create even more storage.vegetable storage containers 7We 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.vegetable storage containers 8Then 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.vegetable storage containers 9Debbie Meyer UltraLite GreenBoxes, $25 for a 16-piece set (green container shown bottom left, above) Resemble regular food containers. At the end of weeks one and two, the raspberries in these and the berries still in the original containers stored in the main compartments of the test refrigerator and the dual-evaporator fridge looked best. All of the others were moldy at the two-week mark.vegetable storage containers 10Best for Raspberries Debbie Meyer UltraLite GreenBoxes, $25 for a 16-piece set (green container shown bottom left, above) Resemble regular food containers. At the end of weeks one and two, the raspberries in these and the berries still in the original containers stored in the main compartments of the test refrigerator and the dual-evaporator fridge looked best. All of the others were moldy at the two-week mark.vegetable storage containers 11Always Fresh Containers help to extend the life of fruits, vegetables, cheese, bread, meats. During the ripening process damaging gases are released. Exposure to these gases speeds up the aging process, Always Fresh Container are made with special material that absorbs and removes these damaging gases, extending the life of foods. These environmental friendly reusable containers also help reduce vitamin loss without the use of harmful chemicals and keep all foods fresh longer. Read MoreLessvegetable storage containers 12Always Fresh Containers help to extend the life of fruits, vegetables, cheese, bread, meats. During the ripening process damaging gases are released. Exposure to these gases speeds up the aging process, Always Fresh Container are made with special material that absorbs and removes these damaging gases, extending the life of foods. These environmental friendly reusable containers also help reduce vitamin loss without the use of harmful chemicals and keep all foods fresh longer.vegetable storage containers 13Of 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.vegetable storage containers 14People are always looking for the best way to keep their produce fresh longer, and some companies make plastic storage containers that claim to do that. But they aren’t cheap. And while they technically work, you’re probably better off saving the $50 you’d likely spend on a full set.vegetable storage containers 15Oxo Good Grips GreenSaver Produce Keeper, $20 (container with colander shown top right, above) Features a colander, an adjustable vent, space for water, and an activated charcoal filter to capture off-gasses. A week in, both kinds of lettuce were doing well in the Oxo, and the mixed greens in the original containers were fine. After two weeks, they all smelled funky and bits and pieces were rotting. By then, the top layer of the mesclun in the Oxo was the most wilted.vegetable storage containers 16Best for Salad Greens Oxo Good Grips GreenSaver Produce Keeper, $20 (container with colander shown top right, above) Features a colander, an adjustable vent, space for water, and an activated charcoal filter to capture off-gasses. A week in, both kinds of lettuce were doing well in the Oxo, and the mixed greens in the original containers were fine. After two weeks, they all smelled funky and bits and pieces were rotting. By then, the top layer of the mesclun in the Oxo was the most wilted.vegetable storage containers 17Over two weeks, we tried out three container sizes from each of the companies and stored the same produce for a two-week period: a head of romaine lettuce in the large containers, three cucumbers in the medium ones, and a pint of strawberries in the small ones. To compare, we also stored lettuce and cucumbers in three gallon-sized Ziploc bags and in three plastic bags from the grocery store’s produce aisle. For the strawberries, we also kept them in the plastic box they came in.

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