Keeping Veggies Fresh Is in the Bag | Almanac.com

Keeping Veggies Fresh Is in the Bag

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We’ve all had this happen. You’ve had some veggies in your refrigerator for just a couple of days, and you open the crisper drawer to get your salad fixings. Then you look inside the plastic produce bags—only to discover that your lettuce leaves are limp, peppers are pathetic, and cucumbers are composting. Not very appetizing.

Even fresh-picked veggies right from your own garden will start to deteriorate soon after they’re harvested. And putting them in plastic bags only accelerates their demise. This is because produce biologically gives off ethylene gas; plastic bags trap this gas, which causes veggies to spoil faster.

Fortunately, there’s a natural solution to this perplexing produce problem—the Vejibag. Created by Sally Erickson, an organic farmer from Eastport, Maine, this ingenious item has been a godsend for the perishables side of our business.

(Let me back up for minute here. Last year, my wife and I purchased a sprawling 11,000 square foot building in a neighboring town. The property had been the site of a local farm stand for many years. Sparing you all the painful details, suddenly we found ourselves carrying on the legacy of offering fresh produce and other short-shelf-life foods. Yikes!)

Even though we had all of the refrigeration units tuned up and operating efficiently—and we were very conscientious about the quality and freshness of the vegetables that we were buying—many items were spoiling quickly. It was mentally (and financially) distressing to send so much produce to the compost pile.

This is why we were delighted to discover the Vejibag at a regional products trade show. But I have to admit that we were a bit skeptical at first. Would this plain cotton, terry cloth sack really keep veggies from spoiling? Sally explained how it works.

For vegetables to retain their just-picked crispness, they need to be stored in a cold, moist environment that allows air to circulate so that the produce can “breathe,” allowing the naturally occurring ethylene gases to escape.

By keeping the cloth damp, filling the bag with washed vegetables (no need to spin them dry), and storing the Vejibag with its contents in the coldest section of your refrigerator, you’ll be amazed at how long everything from delicate salad greens to hearty beets will retain their garden-fresh quality.

We especially like the extra “feel goods” that Sally has incorporated into the Vejibag. As the product of a true “cottage industry,” each bag is expertly hand-sewn by work-from-home women in her local community. Plus, these Earth-friendly bags are made from U.S.-grown and -milled organic cotton. Each one is endlessly reusable and machine washable (it’s best to let them air-dry).

So if you prefer your refrigerator’s crisper drawer not be a chilled compost bin, start storing your carrots, celery, spinach, kale, and other garden goodies in Vejibags. You’ll enjoy the just-picked freshness of veggies for days—even weeks—longer than you ever thought possible. That, we find very appetizing!

Buy a VejiBAGS