KSL INVESTIGATES

Food for thought: Do storage containers keep your fruits and veggies fresh longer?

May 16, 2024, 10:38 PM | Updated: 10:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The following is a common scenario in many American households: We buy fruits and vegetables. We intend to eat said fruits and vegetables.

But for whatever reason, many of us just can’t seem to eat all that produce before it spoils, and a big chunk of it lands in the garbage – uneaten and wasted.

The KSL Investigators scoured the internet looking for any tips, tricks and “old husband” tales of ways that will keep produce fresher longer.

We found loads of advice, some of it contradictory – none more so than whether rinsing produce before storage is a good idea.

We also found tons of products boasting they will prolong the life of your fruits and vegetables. But do those storage containers live up to the hype? We put some to the test.

Our little experiment

We purchased two sets of food preservation systems. One sells for the fairly inexpensive price of $22. The other set – a more “Cadillac” version – sells for $55.

Both sets included colanders that rest inside plastic bins. The more expensive set included dividers and vents that can be open or shut. That set included instructions informing users to leave the vents open for fruits and closed when storing vegetables.

At the supermarket, we bought four containers of strawberries, four containers of spinach and four bunches of grapes.

Neither food saver bin we tested gave guidance on whether we should wash produce first. So, we rinsed some of that produce while not rinsing others.

We split half our produce between the colander containers and kept the other half in its original store containers. Then we popped it all in a fridge and waited.

Over the course of four weeks, we checked in on our experiment every few days.

For the first several days, everything seemed fine – more or less. A week later, the differences between our produce in the food saver bins and the samples still in their original containers were still minimal. Visually, they looked the same, but we noted ever-so slight changes in taste.

But after two weeks in the fridge, the differences became less subtle – with noticeable changes in colors and textures of the samples still in their original containers compared to those stored in the food saver containers. Visually, the grapes and strawberries in the bins held up stronger – less spots, less mold, less changes in texture. And the smell of spoiled spinach seemed more pronounced for the sets in their original containers.

After week three, the differences became much more quantifiable. The strawberries kept in their original containers were noticeably softer.

They exhibited an elasticity not found in fresh-from-the-store strawberries. The samples in the food saver containers, however, seemed fresher – firmer with less pronounced browning. Though a single strawberry in the more expensive, vented container became enclosed by a thick, fuzzy layer of mold.

As for the spinach, the leaves that were rinsed at the start of our experiment and then put back in the original container were spoiled more significantly. It seemed extra moisture pooled at the bottom in the original store containers, causing much more damage than the samples in the food saver bins with their colanders.

The final check

In week four came the final check. The one fuzzy, moldy strawberry kept in the more expensive container corrupted the entire lot. Nearly all were encased in a layer of mold. The two lots kept in their original packaging? Spoiled way past being edible. Surprisingly, the strawberries kept in the cheaper, non-vented food saver were by and large still edible with hardly any change in taste.

As for the spinach? Both third-party containers seemed to have done a decent job keeping it relatively fresh throughout the month. Yes, some leaves were considerably wilted but nothing I wouldn’t throw into a smoothie. Alas, we could not say the same for the lots we left in their original supermarket containers – especially the one we rinsed. The smell and – well – sliminess were too far gone.

The grapes kept in their original packaging all became soft. Rinsed. Unrinsed. It didn’t matter. But the bunches kept in the food saver bins were by and large – edible.

The bottom line according to our experiment: Food saver containers can prolong the life of your produce. And you don’t necessarily need to shell out the money to buy the most expensive set to keep your fruits and veggies fresher longer. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to make a concerted effort to use the produce in your kitchen as soon as you can.

KSL Investigates

Candidates for the Republican primary's Utah’s 3rd Congressional District in a televised debate a...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking GOP candidates in race for Utah’s open US House seat

The KSL Investigators looked into claims from five Republican candidates vying to replace Rep. John Curtis in the U.S. House of Representatives.

6 hours ago

...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from GOP candidates for Utah governor

The KSL Investigators fact-check a range of statements from Utah's GOP gubernatorial candidates.

1 day ago

A debate for Republican candidates vying for Utah’s open U.S. Senate seat ended with a heated exc...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from tense end to Utah GOP Senate debate

Utah’s Republican U.S. Senate primary debate ended with one candidate seemingly implying wrongdoing by another. The KSL Investigators put that claim through the KSL Truth Test.

2 days ago

Four Utah Republicans competing to replace retiring Sen. Mitt Romney in the U.S. Senate squared off...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from Utah GOP candidates fighting to replace Romney

The KSL Investigators put claims from Republican candidates for U.S. Senate through the KSL Truth Test. Here are the facts, context and details you’ll need to get a better picture of the issues.

3 days ago

(FILE) A test dummy getting hit by an air bag during a crash test....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Thousands of cars equipped with faulty airbags on Utah roads as automakers issues ‘Do Not Drive’ warnings

Auto manufacturers have recalled over millions of Takata airbags because of their potential to explode and shoot out sharp metal fragments. And there are still thousands of those in cars across Utah.

9 days ago

sprinkler sprays on green grass...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: Layton man demands refund for decades of charges for water he can’t access

Imagine finding out you've been paying nearly 40 years for rights to water you're not only not getting, but that you can't get, because the pipes for it don’t exist.

10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Food for thought: Do storage containers keep your fruits and veggies fresh longer?