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Do Debbie Meyer and Evert Fresh Green Bags Work?

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The bags absorb ethylene, the plant hormone that ripens bananas and other fruit.

The bags absorb ethylene, the plant hormone that ripens bananas and other fruit.

mconnors, morguefile.com

Debbie Meyer Green Bags and Evert-Fresh Green Bags are a storage product advertised as capable of keeping produce fresh for up to 30 days. They are plastic bags that contain zeolite that absorbs ethylene gas. Plants use ethylene as a hormone. One of its actions is to ripen fruit, so if you can reduce the concentration of ethylene around an apple, for example, it shouldn't get over-ripe and mushy as quickly.

Do Green Bags work? Well... they probably do lower the levels of ethylene inside the plastic bag, so if you are comparing how long fruits and vegetables stay fresh in Green Bags as compared with other plastic bags, you might see an improvement. Or you might not, since ripening is not necessarily why produce spoils. Strawberries and raspberries, for example, usually mold long before the fruit itself goes bad. Most produce really shouldn't be stored in plastic bags, so if you really want to extend its shelf life, leave the produce in the open (tomatoes and bananas) or use paper bags or loosely-wrapped damp paper towels. Some people have reported good results with Green Bags for certain types of produce, such as apples and peppers. I am unaware of anyone who has gotten the bags to preserve produce for the full 30 days.

Would I buy them? No, because my kids eat everything I bring into the house within three days. If I didn't have kids and if the bags were effective, then I would consider the expense. Generally speaking, however, the shelf life of most produce is reduced by storing it in plastic, zeolite or no zeolite, because the humidity inside the bag is so high. You can help your produce last by keeping it cool and by allowing air circulation, which naturally reduces ethylene and other plant hormone levels in the air.

Have you tried Green Bags? Feel free to post a comment to share your experiences with other readers.

Comments

July 29, 2008 at 2:36 pm

(1) Connie G. says:

I’d been thinking about trying these bags, but now that I read your comments, I think I will pass. (I don’t have kids, but food still seems to disappear quickly around here one way or the other.) I will just utilize your advice instead.

July 29, 2008 at 3:54 pm

(2) JJ says:

I’ve tried them — and as empty nesters, who don’t always quickly use up the portions that we’re able to get at the store, we do find that they extend the life of the food a bit. They’re a pain to wash and re-use but I’m getting used to it.

For salad greens, the hard plastic containers with vacuum lock work MUCH better than either the green bags or other options we’ve tried, though.

July 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

(3) Noel says:

You should try Extra Life. You just put the product into your refrigerator crisper and it does the job. More importantly you don’t have to wash a bag.

July 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

(4) Susanne Gleason says:

Now who can honestly say that they are too busy to wash out a plastic bag ? Not me !

July 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm

(5) jean McDermot says:

I tried the debbie myer greenbag and was very disappointed. For example I stored two small cucumbers in one and left it there for a few days and when I went to use them they were all slimy. won’t use them again for anything. veggies and fruits stay better in the refrigerator drawers in loose plastic bags or stored loosely on the shelves.

July 31, 2008 at 3:00 pm

(6) trr says:

I’d never even heard of these bags, but I agree, too much moisture is a bigger problem than too much ethylene. I wouldn’t even try them.

August 4, 2008 at 5:46 am

(7) mare says:

I even wondered before buying them how mold could be avoided. Tried the bags with blueberries and of course got mold within a few days. Back to the old ways. There is a way to save celery much longer. After washing but bundles (4 or 5 stalks) together and wrap them in Aluminum foil and put back in fridge. This one really works but I don’t know why.

August 4, 2008 at 8:16 am

(8) Tina says:

Dear Dr: Helminstine:

One of the factors you attibuted the possible decomposition of fruits and veggies in the Debbie Meyer Green Bags was humidity. Is that because humidity contributes the proliferation of molds? Thank you for this wonderful site!

August 4, 2008 at 9:34 am

(9) Linda says:

As a Science teacher, I was impressed with one of my students who tackled this question for the regional science fair. She found out that the bags did not work for several foods, and only moderately worked for others. I would not buy these bags based on her science research and investigation. Way to go Blake!

August 4, 2008 at 9:36 am

(10) Linda says:

I would not purchase the bags. One of my students, Blake, tackled this project as a science experiment for the regional science fair. Her conclusion-the bags worked somewhat for a few products, and worse for others. Way to go Blake!

August 4, 2008 at 10:39 am

(11) Ida says:

I too, was thinking of purchasing the “green bags”, but after reading your comments, I asked myself, “bell peppers won’t be in my fridge for 3 or 2 weeks, there is no vegtable or fruit that lasts that long in the fridge with my family.

I usually wrap a damp paper towel around fresh herbs and then place them in any plastic storage bag.

August 4, 2008 at 11:57 am

(12) Ayla says:

I’ve tried them, my bananas went utterly revolting! They looked fine and still yellow, even a little green after a week in a cupboard in the bag, but I touched them and they’d turned to mush inside! Eugh! There was a tiny improvement in the life of carrots, but they’re not worth it, I won’t be bothering again.

August 4, 2008 at 1:19 pm

(13) gmac says:

Cosumers Report magazine had a short report on the green bags. They didn’t work. Don’t waste your money.

August 4, 2008 at 1:55 pm

(14) Paula says:

Here’s a positive comment about the green bags! I’ve been using them for about 4-5 months now and I do like them, but as Linda’s student Blake found out, they seem to work better for some fruits/vegetables than others. Moisture condensation in the bag can be a problem, but I reduce this by placing a dry paper towel in the bag over the food (or wrapped around it) to keep the water droplets away from the food. I have had great luck with strawberries (as long as I pick through the container and pull out any marginal ones first). I don’t expect 30 days, but I am happy with a week and a half (versus 3 or 4 days otherwise). And I have had good luck with bananas. I buy the greenest bunch I can find, then pull out one or two at a time to finish ripening on the counter so I can eat them. That way, all the bananas don’t end up ripening at the same time and I get to enjoy them “just right” all week. Again, I don’t expect 30 days, just a week or so works for me! You’ve also got to start with good food – if the fruit/veggie is already past it’s prime, the green bag won’t do much to help.

August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm

(15) carlita martinez says:

Though I have not used the green bag for fruits and veggies- it makes sense to have though types of items left in cold and aired places over sealed in a plastic. Most importantly for me why I would not use them; is their un-recyclablity. Environmentally wise- using more plastic materials for anything can’t be a good thing. Once your plastic bags have reached their life shelf use- and for those of you who tried the bag and disliked them- What did you do with the remaining bag itself? Most plastic bags are not recyclable- Into the landfill they go, not so green afterall.

August 4, 2008 at 8:41 pm

(16) Carol U says:

Wellll I have been quite successful with my green bags except the banana was my only problem. Bought lots of fresh veges for gazpacho and I bagged everyone as directions tell you in indiviual bags, no mixing of veges. They have lasted for several weeks and just as fresh as the day I purchased. They were put into the green bags very dry with no water on any vege. Also someone said they sealed the bag and food rotted. Well according to directions it does tell you not to seal or close tightly. I think they are wonderful and have washed and used any number of times.

July 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm

(17) Susanne Gleason says:

I have quite a different opinion of these green bags. I do especially like them for breads. I have had bread stay fresh for a long time in the bags. I think most people make the same mistake as I did the first time I tried them _____ the instructions say ” do not close the bags tight or tie them with anything. I have some sandwich thins that have been stored in the bags for several weeks , in my oven of all places, I checked them just this week and they are NOT molded or stale. As the instructions say, they can be used for 5 times and bread doesn’t make any trouble cleaning out the bags to use again.

August 5, 2008 at 10:45 am

(18) David says:

What about impregnating the insulation that is in the refrigerator walls with the zeolite, because the inside plastic walls are not sealed and the outside of the refrigerator walls are? Maybe even have them in pullout panels that could be re-charged like the zeolite in water softeners.

August 6, 2008 at 8:26 am

(19) BIMBO 57 says:

THE GREEN BAGS HAVE WORKED FOR ME.

August 7, 2008 at 10:23 am

(20) Lana Goldina says:

DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY. THEY DID NOT WORK FOR ME ONE BIT.

August 8, 2008 at 5:30 am

(21) Lin Lin Htein says:

I think this Debbie Meyer and Evert Fresh Green Bags doesn’t work well because it may cost expensive to use for every people.And form the standpoint of environmental sustainability,whatever you say these bags are good,it can deplete the soil plant nutrient and it can cause the soil to ill!I think if you want to store or to long last the shelf life of vegetables or fruit,there is no more good than granny bag.Because this bag is easy to decompose and not cause the soil to ill,moreover this bag can absorb moisture,so I think this bag can let the shelf life of vegetables and fruits by absorbing moisture in this bag and making good aeration inside this bag.This all is my opinion.Thank you to read my comment!

August 12, 2008 at 5:50 am

(22) Connie says:

The $10.00 I spent on the Debbie Meyer Green Bags was probably one the best buys I ever made. Last week with Eduardo bearing down on us we evacuated to my son’s house. Before I left I packed up the perishables & turned off the electricity & propane. When we got there I discovered I had forgotten to empty the produce drawer of the fridge. Expecting a gooey mess, I was pleasantly surprized to find my produce in excellent shape after 2 days in the 90+ degree heat with absolutely no refridgeration!

August 12, 2008 at 9:28 pm

(23) Ken says:

I bought 2 bananas, put one in the green bag and left one out. They got brown spots at exactly the same time. The bags don’t work on bananas!

August 17, 2008 at 10:05 pm

(24) Luisa j says:

I think that what you are saying on the green bags is true. It may on some fruits and vegetables but not on others. It’s just nature – not all things can be controlled. And the green bags – that’s t.v. – not all things you see on it are true.

August 28, 2008 at 11:13 pm

(25) Mr. X says:

-Absorbs Ethylene gas-
Uhhh….
Wouldn’t the gas escape a lot
better if the food in question
wasn’t in an enclosed bag ?????
Sounds like a gimmick to me.

September 3, 2008 at 4:53 pm

(26) Mandi says:

I have used these bags and found them to work very well. However, they caused my produce to taste funny – like acetone in most cases. I understand that the bags are supposed to absorb ethylene, but I am wondering if during this process biproduct gasses are being absorbed into the produce itself? I haven’t been able to find any research to explain this idea…just throwing it out there to see if maybe someone has heard of something or experienced a similar result with this product!

September 12, 2008 at 11:00 am

(27) Clay says:

I bought the bags and used them for fruit and tomatoes. They molded within two days. The package says if moisture appears you have to wipe the bag dry, but it is impractical to constantly dry the bag. They are a big disappointment.

September 12, 2008 at 12:37 pm

(28) val says:

don’t waste your money. our local news channel reported that they were a deal rather than a dud so seeing them at cvs pharmacy with the sign saying ‘deal’, i decided to give them a try-bananas ripened at the same rate as the bananas i stored normally,a dud for sure

September 12, 2008 at 1:22 pm

(29) Tony Owens says:

My son did used the bags for a science project to test how they performed. The results fruits and veggies out of the bag lasted longer and than ones in the bags. This science project was very extensive. Don’t waste your money or time to use these bags. As everyone else has mentioned…leave the items out in the open or unbagged in the fridge or use a paper bag.

September 13, 2008 at 11:47 pm

(30) Kaelha says:

I have found that the bags work very well on grapes. Fairly well on cut carrots, lettuce, cucumbers and zucchini. You have to be sure that the produce is dry when you place them in the bag. That said, produce is never left in my fridge for 21 days unless it’s an accident lol. When used correctly, the bags seem to extend the life of produce by a few days longer than regular bags. I find this helpful since I live in the foothills of a mountain range and it takes me 30+ minutes to get to the nearest store. I try to only go once a week if I have to.

September 17, 2008 at 4:39 pm

(31) Jess says:

Right now I am doing a test to see if green bags really make things last longer. I have bananas, pears, and spinach in green bags and in traditional storage. This is only the first day I have tested. I will try to post my results.

September 21, 2008 at 3:54 pm

(32) Judy Clark says:

To Whomever Made the “Green Bags”,
I think it is a big rip off!! I would like to recieve a refund. I have vegetables in cleat plastic bags and they are doing just as good if not better.
You can send my refund to Judy Clark, 33 Beloit Drive, Heber Springs, AR. 72543. Thanks

September 28, 2008 at 8:57 pm

(33) Suzie says:

I have tried these with some success. Since putting produce in enclosed spaces causes moisture to condense on the bag, I realized early on that the value was limited. I store my tomatoes at room temperature to preserve the flavor, and found that you don’t get condensation at room temperature. The tomatoes stay fresh a lot longer in the bags than without them. I also leave a small space for air exchange. My mom has a plastic-domed countertop produce keeper where she stores apples, bananas, and citrus. She cuts up the bags and lines the bottom with them, with the inside of the bag facing up. She swears the fruit lasts two weeks longer this way.

October 5, 2008 at 11:31 am

(34) Jodi says:

These bags DO NOT work, my produce actually got rotten faster than normal. I can’t believe how much advertising money goes into stuff that deceives people. Just sad…

October 6, 2008 at 3:17 am

(35) Catalina says:

The bags definitely worked for cucumbers. I washed and dried them and they remained fresh (as a cucumber)for two weeks inside the bag in the fridge. I am trying out pears and peaches now, and will let you know my results.

October 13, 2008 at 8:42 am

(36) Grandma says:

Well, I found them at a store for less than $5.00, so thought I’d give them a try. I put 2 bananas in bag and put 2 more on the counter beside the bag; everyone was told not to touch either. After 2 days the un-bagged ones were attracting fruit flies, the bagged ones were as good as when I put them in. I also did the same with my own garden-grown yellow tomatoes…similar results..the un-bagged ones got brown spots, the unbagged ones nothing. I will continue to use them.

October 14, 2008 at 2:22 am

(37) qaz111111 says:

Zeolites are a family of 54 different chemicals. To say the bags contain Zeolite is absurd and wrong. It is akin to saying they contain additive X without saying what X is.

October 14, 2008 at 2:26 am

(38) qaz111111 says:

Okay… which one is it???

Zeolite mineral species

The Zeolite family includes

* Amicite
* Analcime
* Barrerite
* Bellbergite
* Bikitaite
* Boggsite
* Brewsterite
* Chabazite
* Clinoptilolite
* Cowlesite
* Dachiardite
* Edingtonite
* Epistilbite
* Erionite
* Faujasite
* Ferrierite
* Garronite
* Gismondine

* Gmelinite
* Gobbinsite
* Gonnardite
* Goosecreekite
* Harmotome
* Herschelite
* Heulandite
* Laumontite
* Levyne
* Maricopaite
* Mazzite
* Merlinoite
* Mesolite
* Montesommaite
* Mordenite
* Natrolite
* Offretite
* Paranatrolite

* Paulingite
* Pentasil
* Perlialite
* Phillipsite
* Pollucite
* Scolecite
* Sodium Dachiardite
* Stellerite
* Stilbite
* Tetranatrolite
* Thomsonite
* Tschernichite
* Wairakite
* Wellsite
* Willhendersonite
* Yugawaralite

October 23, 2008 at 9:27 pm

(39) JohnG. says:

other people have done this for there science fair project, ill tell you guys the results =D

October 23, 2008 at 9:28 pm

(40) JohnG. says:

oh i forgot to say im doing it for a science fair project tooXD

November 3, 2008 at 9:44 pm

(41) cffghedty says:

i love green bags

November 12, 2008 at 7:00 pm

(42) Laura says:

Green bags DO NOT WORK do not waste your money on something that molds faster then not putting something in no bag at all

December 9, 2008 at 4:06 pm

(43) jale says:

thank you for posting this, it’s reallll nice to learn lol
jaleene yo! 

January 4, 2009 at 8:44 am

(44) Linda says:

I’ve been using them for bananas and they work great. I used to throw out a lot of them, but not anymore.

January 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm

(45) Bobette says:

I am doing this for a science fair project and so far they have not givin the best results. I have found that even a regular Ziploc bag takes longer for the friut to spoil than the greenbag. The paperbag however was the worst.

January 22, 2009 at 1:41 pm

(46) dianne morris says:

Tried bags and am disappointed. A banana for snack couldn’t make it from home to work – turned mushy – had to discard. Tried a pricey 8-grain bread – good for a few days; alas, by day 5 it turned moldy – quite upset -had to discard. Peppers do better stored and placed in the fridge. Am reverting to my usual means of storage. This morning I reached for my last stored banana and it was mushy and black at one end after 4 days. Am not even in the mood to try the green plastic containers. Talk about false advertising. So disappointing.

February 5, 2009 at 7:52 pm

(47) Ken says:

They do work – just be sure the fruit you put in is dry – I get strawberries to last for 8-9 days – previously they would go bad after 4 – 5 days. People do not follow directions that is why they don’t work. How could a cucumber get slimy as one person said – they put it in damp.

February 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm

(48) suefoo says:

Try parchment paper. Works great for me, as good as the green bags anyway. Also the big flour sack towels.

February 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm

(49) Pananer says:

I received a box of green bags for Christmas, and I love them. I followed all the directions about putting produce in dry, just loosely folding the bag over, etc. I was amazed that the bananas that I stored in the bas in the friedge stayed a beautiful yellow and tasted fresh after more than a week, and I have other produce that has lasted for SEVERAL WEEKS in the bags. I don’t understand how different people get such different results. Maybe the fridge or home environment (humidity maybe?) is different. But the green bags work great for me.

March 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm

(50) RogerH says:

My wife insisted on using these green bags. The only thing we find that they do not work on is cucmbers. They have keep tomatoes looking and tasting good for 5 weeks. They really do work.

March 7, 2009 at 3:43 am

(51) beth says:

I love my green bags and will never leave them. I buy 2-3 bunches of green bananas, separate them to 6 to 8 fruits per bag and they keep for weeks on my kitchen table, all the while ripening slower and intensifying in flavor. I’ve kept tomatoes for weeks, not refrigerated. They got so sweet and wonderful!! I kept them so long that the seeds inside the tomatoes started to sprout. No kidding. The key is to keep everything dry inside. When condensation gathers inside, take a paper towel and dry everything off. Put produce in a different bag. Turn wet bag inside out and rinse and air dry and reuse. I get a lot of wear out of them this way.
When avocados are on sale I buy a bunch, let them ripen, bag and fridge, they keep for weeks. I also have great results with apples not fridged. Not so great on strawberries is the only hang up i’ve found.

March 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm

(52) Karen says:

mushrooms are the only thing that keeps longer in green bags for me. i would like to know about hot water / detergent washing, is there an inside-out, and how do i know when they’re dead?

May 5, 2009 at 8:02 am

(53) Evalou says:

I tried the Debbie Meyer bread bags.
I placed Puglese it the bad.
It molded the second day. It lasted
for me in longer in the original
bag. I would never recommend or use
again.

May 12, 2009 at 7:30 pm

(54) Maureen says:

I’ve been using these for YEARS and have given them to my gardening friends to store their bumper crops during growing season. We all LOVE them. I have the zip-lock type…don’t know if that makes a difference. Use as directed. DON’T wash your fruits & veggies first (they must be DRY). Squeeze out excess air before sealing. Lettuce, brussels sprouts, broccoli, celery, asparagus, green beans, green & yellow squash, grape tomatoes, peppers, apples, grapes, strawberries, nectarines, pears. These are just some of the produce I’ve stored in green bags with great success. I’ve also reused them more than 10 times. If you’re concerned about recyclability, use them to organize and store craft or hardware pieces, cards, stationery…be creative.

May 27, 2009 at 11:09 am

(55) Michael says:

I used these bags for two months and they do “appear” to work for several kinds of produce but I started wondering if the NUTRITIONAL VALUE was in any way depleted and apparently it is. I called the Debbie Meyer phone order number and asked this question. At first I got a carefully worded but vague reply. When I persisted and mentioned there was no mention of preserving nutrition on the package I was told that ANYONE KNOWS the bags are about freshness, not nutrition and was curtly referred to the USDA’s website, and then hung up on.

June 28, 2011 at 1:51 am

(56) Rachael says:

It seems to me that everyone is not necessarily talking about the same “green bags” – which could be part of the disparity.
I’ve been using green bags for months, and they are definitely better than the usual supermarket bags! Don’t know name brand; they were 30 bags, 3 sizes, about $10 – I think the Meyers ones?
But considering what the woman with cancer said about being leery of plastic, I’m about to try lidded glass containers with a paper towel in there somewhere. Anyone compared glass to hard plastic??
Also, I asked a favorite buddy at the farmer’s market what he does for optimum storage for leafy greens. He cuts off the ends and lets them stand in water in the bottom of the ‘frig. But a produce person at Earth Fare said the problem with open water is that the water itself tends to attract any circulating impurities such as from other foods in frig … Maybe someone else can address this ..? But I am changing out the water every day or two and the veggies seem to love this and do very well. I loosely green bag them, tying the bag off above water level. I regularly check and cut and rinse and turn – and ‘love’ my fresh vegs/fruits, thanks to the writings of Masaru Emoto, who speaks of the direct influence of our thoughts on water. Look him up – incredible! Bottom line, he says Love and Gratitude projected at water [and/or] has a measurable impact!
I did the ‘Hado experiment’ with rice he writes about. Turns out a lot of other people did too. Go to youtube and type in, e.g., ["masaru emoto" rice experiment "love and gratitude”] and go down the page. Lots of people did this with similarly impressive results. Back to food storage: that’s my lately thing, projecting love and gratitude to everything that goes in my frig and in my mouth. Hmmm, I feel another experiment getting ready to happen ! ;-D

July 9, 2009 at 8:36 pm

(57) Americanblackwidow says:

I have used these bags with great success on every type of produce I put in them. Especially bananas! Which I used to constantly throw out. If you follow the instructions they do work. Granted, not for the 30 days advertised but for the extra week-2 weeks I get out of them they have more than paid for themselves. I wash mine in the top rack of the dishwasher because I agree washing/wiping them out is too much of a pain. All the bags still work fine. So as far as recycling goes, I think the bags have more than done their share!

July 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm

(58) lynnann says:

loads of opinions, but my concern is what are they really made of? Are they making the veggies stored in them healthier? or toxic? I tried to read most of the posts, but didn’t find anything addressing the possibility they effect the veggies in some negative way. I have used them and thought they helped my home grown lettuce and micro greens last longer, but what is the plastic doing to them??? thanks…

August 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm

(59) Steven says:

It seems to me:
The chemistry is there…
and the product works great for me… I just don’t get the whole “green” marketing concept. Is it because you will have to use less bags?

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