By Heidi Lewis
“Here I come to save the day!” Mighty Mouse’s musical manifesto heralded this tiny superhero’s arrival to save and protect us. But since Mr. Mouse is no longer in syndication, it looks like we’re gonna have to do the saving ourselves. The crush of serious news about pollution and global warming that comes into our homes via airwaves and inboxes can be daunting. As millions of us have found, the cure to “the overwhelm” is to start with small ways to reduce waste and recycle every day—little steps up the mountain.
In our TakeHome cases, we sometimes pack tender greens and veggies in translucent green bags. These bags are green in color and function—they’re useful for keeping produce fresh longer so it won’t be wasted, and they’re sturdy enough to be used many more times. The plastic bags are coated with a zeolite clay called oya. The clay was discovered in caves of Japan, where farmers would store their produce so it wouldn’t spoil. This natural mineral adsorbs the ethylene gases the bagged items emit, and inhibits respiration.
The wonderful bounty of produce we enjoy can have a plethora of storage requirements. We can use the different temperature areas of our fridges and pantries, as well as the produce’s own naturally occurring ethylene to control food spoilage. Some foods, like zucchini, cucumber, and berries, contain a lot of water, so place a paper towel with them to wick away moisture. Ideally, do not store produce of different varieties or stages of maturity together.
From elementary science fair experimenters to consumer reporters, many have charted varying results with these green bags. Please tell The FruitGuys if you find them useful. Above all, keep them and reuse them.
Reuse: Rinse bags well with warm water (and a drop of mild dish liquid, if necessary). Invert and place over a bottle or rack to dry completely.
Storage: Store bags away from direct sunlight, and use again for your next fresh produce. Rinse and repeat.