Do you wish you knew how to keep fruit and vegetables fresher longer? We all should! It’s estimated that Australians throw away about 2.67 billion dollars’ worth of fresh food every year. How often have you bought some lovely salad greens, only to have them turn to slime before you were able to get around to using them?
So what’s the best way to store fruit and veg? It has to be plastic free, and it really has to work as advertised…
Introducing The Swag!
The Swag was invented by Australian Peita Pini, who was tired of throwing away food and concerned about what all the plastic packaging waste is doing to our environment.
She got the idea for the name from the Australian bushmen’s bedroll that they carried on their backs as they walked around the bush looking for work.
In July of 2018 she received a $150,000 investment from the TV show Shark Tank to expand into the American market. The Swag produce bags are still manufactured in Australia, though, from fair trade materials certified by Sedex, which performs an audit once a year.
How The Swag is made
Peita learned how to keep fruit and vegetables fresher longer from her mum, who would wrap them in damp or dry towels to keep them moist while letting them breathe.
She improved upon this idea with her patented three-layered storage bag, which is made out of 100% unbleached and unseeded cotton.
The Swag fruit and veg bags are completely plastic free and does a much better job than her mum’s improvised method.
The outside layer keeps everything from drying out, but the real secret is in the middle layer. It’s thick and absorbent, holding water but also drawing water away from the bag’s contents.
The innermost layer stays dry, but also lets your fruit and vegetables breathe and dissipate ethylene (the ripening – and rotting – gas that fruits and veggies produce).
The result is that your precious produce is kept in a perfect environment: humid but not wet, with a perfect amount of airflow.
How to use The Swag
When you first get your Swag bag, machine wash it and then dry it inside out in the sunshine. This will fluff up the middle layer and make it absorb water more easily.
After that using it is simple. When it comes time to store your fresh produce, wet your Swag from the outside and squeeze out the excess water.
The outside and middle layers should be damp, but the inside should be practically dry.
Place your fruit and veg inside, close the flap and store in the refrigerator. Don’t wrap anything in plastic – that will cancel out the benefits. You want to let the air flow.
And there you are. Who knew learning how to keep fruit and vegetables fresher longer would be so easy! With the Swag you should get a minimum of two weeks delicious life out of your fresh produce – maybe longer.
The Swag fruit and vegetable bags come in three sizes:
- Small: perfect for small fruit like grapes and strawberries; and small veggies and herbs
- 37 cm wide by 38 cm high (including the flap)
- 37 cm wide by 24cm high (not including the flap)
- Long: designed especially for longer veg like celery, silverbeet and leeks
- 52 cm wide by 38 cm high (including the flap)
- 52 cm wide by 24 cm high (not including the flap)
- Large: for anything and everything! Cut veggies keep well, along with whole fruit and veg.
- 42 cm wide by 52 cm high (including the flap)
- 42 cm wide x 38 cm high (not including the flap)
Tips and tricks
- Check your Swag every so often to make sure it’s still damp. If not, just sprinkle some water on the top – no need to take it out of the fridge.
- Don’t store very ripe fruit in your Swag – the ethylene it produces will accelerate spoilage for everything else in there. Eat it, cook it or store it in a fruit bowl on the counter.
- Don’t put bananas in The Swag. Store them on the counter or peel and freeze.
- You can put cut fruit and veg in The Swag with no worries. You don’t have to wrap them in cling film, just toss them in there with everything else.
- When you first get your produce home give it a good swish or soak in a sinkful of cold water with a splash of vinegar added. Then dry and put in your Swag.
- When you buy fresh food, take the old food out of the large Swag and put it in a small one – or use the colour coded red bag. You’ll know that you need to eat them soon.
Main image credit: The Swag
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