Garden fresh goodness is fleeting, though your homegrown produce will outlast anything you buy at the grocery store. What if you could extend the shelf life of the fruits and veggies you grow without freezing and canning it all? There’s this stuff called FreshPaper that can make that possible.
People who shop at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Wegman’s may have seen it on display, perhaps they’re already using it. But anyone who lives far from such a grocery store is likely to never heard of it. There’s not a huge marketing campaign going on. This won’t be something you discover on tv commercials.
What is it?
A simple piece of paper infused with organic essences of herbs and spices that naturally inhibit fungal and bacterial agents from setting in. It’s a patented product that was invented by a teenager after years of playing around with the concept of removing pollutants from water with a mixture of natural things. The idea to preserve food with it came later, though before she graduated from high school.
Today, Kavita Shulka has perfected her childhood experiments into FreshPaper produced by her company, Fenugreen. She was inspired by the volume of food that is wasted to rot and the large number of households around the world that still are without refrigeration. FreshPaper is helping to provide people in 35 countries with fruits and vegetables that has an extended shelf life. Though she has been approached by venture capitalists eager to profit from her startup’s product, Kavita wants nothing to do with them, her concern over improving the lives of those without refrigeration outweighs any interest in capitalization.
Does it work?
That’s what my first thought was when I heard about it. The best way to find out is obviously from someone who has used it. So, I Googled it to see what I could learn. Consumer Reports wasn’t impressed, but they aren’t the end all of getting the scoop on a product. Digging deeper, ever wary of marketing ploys disguised as reviews, I find one blogger who is raving about it and has some photos to go along with his article. Next I arrive on Amazon where it’s getting 5 star reviews like crazy. Knowing that a lot of these can be planted too, investigating those who attest to it’s wondrous action reveals that they are average shoppers, not paid for these reviews.
So, yes, it works. In the course of this investigation it occurs to me that the best results from FreshPaper will be found on truly FRESH fruits and veggies – not the stuff found in the average supermarket that has traveled thousands of miles and sat in cold storage for weeks before it’s arrived in the produce department. Hence the reason that Consumer Reports didn’t find it to be much help. At that point in it’s post-harvest life, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are already in a state of decline where fungal and bacterial agents are likely already present and ready to get to work.
A theory that is definitely given credit from at least 2 people who have used it with good results on Amazon. They say that it works best on foods from farmers markets.
How to use it?
A small sheet of FreshPaper placed in the fruit bowl, your produce drawer, or in storage containers and bags in the refrigerator is all it takes to fend off the things that cause fresh foods to spoil. Each sheet can last for weeks. It can prolong freshness for 2-4 weeks. You can reuse them too, as long as the scent is still present. When it begins to fade, you can compost it or throw it away. Sounds awesome!
Here’s Kavita appearing at TedX:
I don’t know about you, but this requires checking out at home. My first pack is on it’s way today 😉