Cloth Produce Bags effectiveness? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 08-02-2008, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, this is probably a really silly question, but here it goes. I've seen the threads regarding the reusable produce bags (which is awesome ), but don't the veggies need to be in plastic in order to conserve them? To make them last longer?

Do y'all find a difference? How do you address this?

Thanks so much!!
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#2 of 18 Old 08-03-2008, 01:20 AM
 
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Bear in mind nothing that doesn't come in plastic has ever been in plastic in my fridge (we got the reduce/reuse/recycle message at high school in the 80s in my country)...but

I find the things that are in plastic bags go bad quicker with mould (lettuce, carrots) than the things that are loose in the crisper. That's why the crisper is called that.
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#3 of 18 Old 08-03-2008, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for responding!

Well, what do you do with the veggies that don't fit in the crisper?
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#4 of 18 Old 08-03-2008, 09:14 PM
 
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I don't know if I read the question wrong, but I only carry my veggies home in the cloth bags. Once I get home, they are loose in the crisper. If I feel like its important, I separate the fruits or veggies with pieces of cardboard or with those small little crates that they sell at the dollar store....

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#5 of 18 Old 08-03-2008, 09:25 PM
 
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None of the vegetables from our garden ever go into plastic so I don't see why store bought ones would have to.

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#6 of 18 Old 08-03-2008, 11:32 PM
 
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Whole fruits and veggies would go bad faster if left in plastic. Plastic traps moisture against the produce, encouraging rot. It also traps the gas (can't remember the name right now) that ripening fruits and veggies give off which causes them to ripen, and rot, faster.

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#7 of 18 Old 08-04-2008, 01:26 PM
 
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I find that when I shop once a week at the farmer's market, that the veggies in my crisper left unbagged wilt faster than those in plastic. Perhaps I'm using my crisper incorrectly.
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#8 of 18 Old 08-04-2008, 02:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KristyDi View Post
Whole fruits and veggies would go bad faster if left in plastic. Plastic traps moisture against the produce, encouraging rot. It also traps the gas (can't remember the name right now) that ripening fruits and veggies give off which causes them to ripen, and rot, faster.
Yep, for my fridge at least!
i like the plastic green baggies (absorbs the ethenol? gas), but i have to put a paper towel or dry wash cloth in there to keep the moisture down, or they rot!
I've found stuff lasts far, far longer in a cloth produce bag. Lets it breathe and keeps the right amount of moisture.

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#9 of 18 Old 08-04-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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I find that when I shop once a week at the farmer's market, that the veggies in my crisper left unbagged wilt faster than those in plastic. Perhaps I'm using my crisper incorrectly.
Does your crisper having a little sliding bar on it near the handle? If so, the sliding bar controls the humidity in the crisper. Not all fruits and veggies go together in the crisper, and some fruit need higher or lower humidity... or atleast that is what I discovered I was doing wrong with my fridge, until I read the instructions, and googled the ideal humidity (within the range of my fridge) for specific types of fruits or veggies.

I actually use the one that is supposed to be a deli tray correctly now, and the 2 crispers seem to work so much better... and I don't use plastic bags in the fridge for my fruits or veggies

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#10 of 18 Old 08-06-2008, 03:14 AM
 
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I don't think our fridge has a "crisper" just some drawers. We use plastic containers with lids (like tupperware) for some veggies that go limp and floppy if in cloth or loose in the fridge. I figure this is better than bags because we wash and reuse the containers.
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#11 of 18 Old 08-10-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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I leave my veggies in plastic in the fridge because refrigerators do not have the proper moisture level to keep veggies crisp like a root cellar would.

I work at an organic farm and have learned a few things about certain veggies.
Carrots, for instance, need to have their green tops chopped off if they are in the fridge or the greens will do some weirs moisture thing and make them go limp fast. However, in a root cellar they need those tops left on.

My zucchini was not in plastic for 2 days and it was limp in the crisper. I do reuse my plastic bags several times though.
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#12 of 18 Old 08-11-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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Here's what my grandmother taught me....
Wet a linen towel (you can get them very inexpensively at goodwill / thrift stores) thoroughly then wring it out. Wrap the veggies in this and put it in the frig. (crisper drawer or not). In the crisper drawer, they should stay cool and damp - in the other areas of the frig, you may need to re-wet and wring the cloth again after a couple of days. I am so happy to have remembered what she taught me!
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#13 of 18 Old 08-11-2008, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamasee View Post
Here's what my grandmother taught me....
Wet a linen towel (you can get them very inexpensively at goodwill / thrift stores) thoroughly then wring it out. Wrap the veggies in this and put it in the frig. (crisper drawer or not). In the crisper drawer, they should stay cool and damp - in the other areas of the frig, you may need to re-wet and wring the cloth again after a couple of days. I am so happy to have remembered what she taught me!
I'm going to try it! :

I put my veggies (bagless) in the drawers. It's only Monday and they're not doing so good...

Thanks for the tip! I was also considering putting them in cloth bags and seeing if that would help...
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#14 of 18 Old 08-11-2008, 04:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MacroMama View Post

Thanks for the tip! I was also considering putting them in cloth bags and seeing if that would help...
I haven't tried it with dry towels, but if just cloth bags don't work, you could just wet those down in a similar way. This tip also works for leftover salad. My grandmother would just lay a damp towel over the bowl of salad greens and they would stay fresh without getting mushy.
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#15 of 18 Old 08-11-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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Last grocery trip, I gathered all of my fresh fruits/vegis in a nylon net back and then layed a plastic bag over the weight scale at the register to weigh and price individually and then place them back into my net bag. The checker didn't seem too inconvienced, considering I did most of it. Then when I get home, I put them in the green plastic bags mentioned above that are supposed to help them not go bad as quickly. But I think they are only good for a certain number of uses. As I have noticed that they don't seem to be as effective as they were when I first got them. I'll have to try the paper towel idea.
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#16 of 18 Old 08-14-2008, 04:50 PM
 
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I've always put all of my produce directly into the drawer without taking them out of the plastic bag. I've been looking into switching to cloth, but never even thought to take them out of the plastic bag when I got home.

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#17 of 18 Old 08-23-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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I have had really good luck with putting veggies like corn (in the husk) or eggplant directly in the crisper with no bag at all. Even peppers and jicama do pretty well. They actually stand up better than if they're in plastic. Lettuces get rinsed then spun and either stored in the spinner if I have room, or bagged in green plastic and put back in the crisper. Stone fruits do just fine in the cloth, but what I have found is that blueberries don't. Or more precisely my bags don't do so well in the crisper with blueberries in them, they start mildewing. So I'm looking for another option for my blueberries (although the season is about over). Broccoli does not stand up to being un/cloth bagged, it wants plastic to stay crisp, as do carrots. But I do buy everything in cloth and bring it home and bag what needs to be bagged in reusable green produce bags.

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#18 of 18 Old 08-25-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
I have had really good luck with putting veggies like corn (in the husk) or eggplant directly in the crisper with no bag at all. Even peppers and jicama do pretty well. They actually stand up better than if they're in plastic. Lettuces get rinsed then spun and either stored in the spinner if I have room, or bagged in green plastic and put back in the crisper. Stone fruits do just fine in the cloth, but what I have found is that blueberries don't. Or more precisely my bags don't do so well in the crisper with blueberries in them, they start mildewing. So I'm looking for another option for my blueberries (although the season is about over). Broccoli does not stand up to being un/cloth bagged, it wants plastic to stay crisp, as do carrots. But I do buy everything in cloth and bring it home and bag what needs to be bagged in reusable green produce bags.

When I bring home berries of any type (I bring them home from the farm or market in linen produce bags) I just put them in a bowl and store them uncovered on a shelf in the main compartment of the fridge. I do not rinse them until I'm ready to eat them, and then I rinse only one serving at a time.

But to be honest, berries never last long enough around here to go bad.
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