Posted by Mary Andrews / January 26, 2012
Testing Out Clearly Fresh Bags
Tim and I were contacted by Clearly Fresh Bags, a new company specializing in a type of zipper bag that claims to preserve the freshness of produce like fresh fruit and vegetables beyond what their normal shelf life would have been should you have left them on the counter, in the fridge, or in another type of zipper bag on their own. They've developed a new technology, controlling the way air flows in and out of the bag via a BreathWay membrane on the front of the bags and wanted to know if we'd be interested in testing them out for ourselves.
We've had inquiries to do product reviews before, something we're not opposed to, but haven't really found a good fit with yet. For the sake of keeping it real, we've just not come across any products we felt were a good fit with what we'd actually buy, use, or give a try.
All of this being said, when asked by the nice folks over at Clearly Fresh Bags if we wanted to receive and review their zipper bags, we were excited to have finally found a product we'd try out if asked or not — so naturally, we said yes! Today, we're happy to share our own experience testing out the Clearly Fresh Bags.tim
After receiving the bags, we set out to tackle our weekend shopping trip over at Ellwood Thompsons, picked up the produce and ingredients we knew we'd need for a few recipes Tim had up his sleeve for E.A.T. and a few extra fruits and veggies for snacking. Given the fact I'd be heading up to New York for the week, it was a great time to test the promise of the Clearly Fresh Bags and how well they may or may not preserve the freshness of our produce until I got back home.
The bags come in sets of 10 and are significantly larger than the regular large zipper bags we usually purchase, for example, we were able fit entire heads of cabbage and lettuce into separate bags.
We tossed all of the veggies (cabbage, lettuce, fennel, and bok choy) into the bags immediately and I broke up the bunch of bananas we got to do a visual "side by side test" of the bags to show here on the blog. I put the yellower (more ripe) bananas in the bags and left the less ripened ones outside the bag to try to slow the over-ripening process on the already yellower bananas. I also thought it would be fun to show just how well the ones in the bags stayed to their true form compared with their not-even-ripe-yet green counterparts if everyone panned out.
It's been roughly 12 days and we're looking good. Pleasantly surprised to say that in our household the bags deliver on their promise to keep produce fresher for longer. Speaking on a personal level, the freshness of the veggies was most impressive — when we took them out after the 12 days, they were just as crisp and full as the day we bought them which isn't usually the case this late into the game.
Upon returning home, Tim had used up the fennel, and part of the cabbage and lettuce for recipes he'd been working on throughout the week (this cabbage side dish he made is perfect for Valentine's Day if you are looking for a good recipe). I love how he was able to place the remainder of the produce back in the bags to restore their freshness and use again. The bok choy and bananas hadn't been touched, so were intact since we'd placed them in the bags.
By day 12 we are usually deciding whether to use up leftover veggies right away or pitch into the compost. I didn't want to do a side by side comparison of the veggies since we didn't want to waste anything (knowing without a doubt they would shrivel up if left out in the fridge). Check out how well they held up and retained their freshness:
You can see the difference in the banana "test" pretty clearly. I'm not one to shy away from week and a half old bananas, but I will say it's really nice not to have the entire bunch on it's last leg.
The yellower bananas from the bag stayed pretty much the same over the 12 days with a little extra browning — but surprisingly kept their "plumpness." You can see how the greener and less ripe bananas we left outside the bag as we normally would ripened well past the originally riper ones in the bags. These guys ripened at a rate I'm used to, browning more significantly and losing a lot of their firmer shapeliness.
Take a closer look at the two sets outside of the bags. Bananas from the Clearly Fresh bags are on the right and the originally greener ones on the left:
Here's a breakdown of the pluses and minuses from our test:
Plus sides: The Clearly Fresh Bags worked! In addition to meeting the claims of longer lasting freshness, we love that these zipper bags are recyclable (you just have to remove the sticker membrane). We also love the size of the bags — they are much larger than regular zipper bags and can hold an entire head of cabbage, which as you can see, was nice in our circumstance. It was also nice that the package came with 10 bags, which may seem like less than normal zipper bag boxes, but gave us plenty to use for the future. Given that they extended the shelf life of our produce, we could potentially end up buying less produce next go round and negate the need for those extra bags in the first place.
Down sides: The only downsides we agree on thus far are the fact that these zipper bags are really intended for one or two uses to meet their maximum working point. It may sound gross, but we're the type that like to use zipper bag a few times over if they're still "clean" so having to throw these in the recycle bin after a single use (if we don't want to reuse for something else non-food related) is a little bit of a bummer. Other than that, just being picky about the way things are displayed and look around our kitchen, I wasn't a big fan of having our bananas inside the zipper bags out on our counter. I told you it was picky, haha, and I'd definitely rather be able to eat a fresh banana later in the week rather that have to throw one away because I wanted it to stay out and look nice.
If you're interested in learning more, check out the Clearly Fresh Bags website and find them on Facebook. We'd love to know if these bags are something you'd try if given the opportunity? Let us know in the comments section below!