Say "Hello" to compostable bags
Outpost has made the pledge to eliminate single-use petroleum-based co-op packaging and consumables by 2022. So it's out with the old plastic pull-down produce bags and in with compostable film produce bags.
What to know about compostable produce bags
Compostable film bags are a sure bet for easy shopping convenience in the produce department. However, because they are made from plant-based polymers, they do not perform the same way a regular plastic bag does.
- Won't hold a lot of weight
- Can be subject to punctures and tears
- Cost the co-op more - a few cents adds up over time
For transport only and NOT for storage
Because of the nature of the plant-based film, bags may begin to bio-degrade within a few days, even in the fridge! Because of this, storing food in these bags is not advised. Look out for early rot or wilt or the potential for bag residue on your food.
- Use compostable bags ONLY to transport your fresh items home
- At home transfer your items to the produce drawer or other cold storage container in the fridge
- FUN FACT: You can compost these bags in your backyard
What to do? Consider other bag options FIRST
Forgo using a bag
Not everything needs to go into a bag, especially items with a thick peel, rind or skin. Put them right into the cart - we don't mind corralling those carrots at check-out!
Try using a paper bag
You can find paper bags right in the produce department for multiple items - BTW they are recyclable AND compostable and good for heavy items like potatoes
Buy reusable produce bags
Nylon, mesh and cloth produce bags are sturdy, can stand up to a lot of weight as well as pointy things like corn cobs and string beans, and are ready for use again and again
Keeping produce fresher longer
We love fresh produce! Here are some tips to get the most of storing your fruits and veggies!
A word on ethylene gas
If you have produce, you have ethylene gas. It is a naturally occurring gas that is given off of produce items as they age. Some items give off more gas than others. Too much ethylene gas can cause some things to wilt. Knowing which items are "ethylene gas-givers" is key to helping manage fruits and veggies.
The Crisper Drawer - Proper Cold Storage
Stop storing your produce in plastic bags. Get reacquainted with crisper drawers!
There is a very real purpose for the crisper drawers in your fridge besides keeping all those little yogurt containers in one spot. Using crisper drawers can actually help prolong the shelf life of your fresh purchase AND help you kick the plastic produce bag storage habit altogether.
A cold, humid environment can be a boon or a bust for certain fruits and vegetables. Each crisper drawer has a VENT that can be opened or closed to control humidity levels in each drawer. The KEY is knowing which items go in which drawer!
Make smaller, more frequent purchases
Shop fresh departments more frequently and make smaller purchases, consuming all your produce in between purchases if possible. A once-a-week trip might be more convenient, however, produce will sit longer and run a greater risk of wilt or rot. Plan your meals and parse out your fresh purchases to get the most of out your shopping trips.
Open Vent, Low-Humidity, Ethylene Producing Food
Some produce naturally emit a moist ethylene gas when it is stored. These gases can rot produce as they age. Storing them in the crisper drawer with the vent OPEN allows for those gases to escape. Adjusting the vent can help better control the humidity level.
Examples: Apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, honey dew melon, apricots, kiwi, papayas, cranberries
Closed Vent, High-Humidity, Ethylene Sensitive Food
Foods that are sensitive to ethylene gas tend to do better in a closed environment. They are more likely to wilt or fade as they age. Store these items in the crisper drawer with the vent CLOSED or the drawer that has NO VENT.
Examples: green leafy vegetables, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, berries, peppers, fresh herbs, citrus, eggplant, green beens, asparagus, cut onions
NOTE: Treat herbs like parsley or basil like a small bouquet - put them in a small glass of water and store upright in the fridge on a shelf.
Keep them separated
Avoid co-mingling low- with high-humidity fruits and vegetables in the same drawer or space, as they can cause rot and wilt to happen much more quickly. If you choose to keep some of your produce in the fridge and not in the crisper drawer, choose low-humidity ethylene producing items. Keep the closed vent, high-humidity, ethylene-sensitive produce in the drawer.
Feel free to use glass or reusable plastic containers with lids when storing some produce, especially when corralling small items like cherries or bulk leaves like spinach. Avoid washing items before storing in a container. Wash just before eating.
Forget the fridge
Good news! Not everything needs to be stored in the refrigerator. The following items can be stored on the counter:
Bananas, avocados, tomatoes - stores well on the counter top
Garlic, onions, potatoes - store in a cool, dark location, separately from the list above