I Tried This $12 Produce-Preserving Gadget — And Here’s What I Thought
Does Bluapple really keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer? I tested it to find out.
Like many people, I’ve been spending more time at home this year, meaning I’m cooking more frequently yet making fewer trips to the grocery store. As I’ve been stocking up on fresh foods each week to (hopefully) last until my next shopping trip, I’ve found it challenging to use up all my fruits and veggies before they lose their freshness. After a few disappointing evenings of starting to make dinner only to find that one of my ingredients was past its prime, I began looking for ways to stretch the shelf life of my produce and came across Bluapple.
This cute little product claims to prolong the life of produce by absorbing ethylene, a gas that fruits and vegetables give off as they ripen. Some items, such as peaches, pears, apples and avocados, are high ethylene producers, while others, like strawberries, cucumbers, broccoli and leafy greens, are sensitive to ethylene and will spoil faster when exposed to it. Each Bluapple contains a packet that absorbs ethylene for about three months. When the packet is spent, you can empty the granules into your garden or houseplants as fertilizer and recycle the paper.
At $12 for a pack of two, plus $12 for a year’s supply of refill packets, it seemed like a no-brainer buy to keep my produce fresh longer. I liked the price, the no-waste packets and the small size of the product that wouldn’t take up a lot of space in my fridge.
How I Tested Bluapple
According to its website, Bluapple works best in a closed environment where it can remove as much ethylene gas as possible. For my experiment, I first bought a mix of fruits and vegetables and stored them in my refrigerator’s crisper drawers without Bluapple. I tried to pick produce that spoils quickly so I could easily see how it progressed, and I took daily pictures of the items to track when they started to lose their freshness.
I then bought the same mix of fruits and vegetables and stored them the same way in the fridge, this time adding a Bluapple to each crisper drawer. I tried to pick items of similar quality to the first phase of testing, and I took pictures again to see how long the items stayed fresh.
A couple of other things to note: I stored the high ethylene producers in a low-humidity crisper drawer (with the vent open, allowing the gas to escape) and ethylene-sensitive items in a high-humidity drawer (with the vent closed, retaining moisture and isolating the items from the ethylene producers). I’m usually guilty of just tossing my fruits and veggies anywhere I can find room in the fridge, but this change alone made my produce last longer than usual. As a general rule of thumb, fruits and veggies that tend to rot should be stored in a low-humidity drawer, while items that wilt fare better in a high-humidity drawer.
I also didn’t want to waste food over the course of the experiment, so as the fruits and veggies started to turn, I went ahead and used them up.
I stored this ethylene-sensitive herb in a plastic produce bag in my high-humidity crisper drawer. The cilantro stored sans Bluapple started going bad very quickly; within five days it was quite wilted and had several dark, slimy spots. With the Bluapple, the cilantro still looked pretty fresh until around day eight.
Cucumbers are another ethylene-sensitive veggie that I stored loose in my high-humidity crisper drawer. It’s a little hard to tell from the photo, but the cucumber stored without a Bluapple started developing soft spots around day five, while the cucumber stored with a Bluapple was still flawless after more than a week.
I stored the spinach in its original plastic tub in the high-humidity drawer. Unfortunately, the spinach stored with the Bluapple started wilting after four days, while the spinach stored without a Bluapple looked fresh for about a week.
Like spinach, I kept the strawberries in their original plastic carton in the high-humidity drawer. Also like spinach, I didn’t see great results; the strawberries stored with a Bluapple started developing soft spots by day four and mold by day six. The strawberries stored without Bluapple still looked fairly fresh after about a week, with just a few soft spots.
Peaches are high ethylene producers, so I stashed them loose in my low-humidity crisper drawer. Without the Bluapple, the peaches started to shrivel up after about six days. Still tasty, but a little off in texture. With the Bluapple, the peaches were still practically perfect after more than a week.
Pears fared similarly to peaches, though the results were a bit more subtle. After seven days, the pears stored without the Bluapple were slightly shriveled, though still in pretty good shape. The pears stored with a Bluapple still looked great after the same amount of time.
Overall, my experiment wasn’t perfect since the quality of the produce could’ve varied slightly from the first phase of the experiment to the second, and because the mix of other items in my fridge wasn’t exactly the same from week to week. Although I didn’t have great results with the spinach or strawberries, for the most part, Bluapple did seem to help my produce last longer, particularly keeping the high ethylene-producing fruits from shriveling up. I kept the Bluapples in my crisper drawers after finishing my test, and I haven’t had to toss any spoiled produce since. At $12, I think it’s a good buy if you want a little more time to finish up your fresh fruits and veggies, especially if you’re trying to limit your grocery store trips.