Despite our best intentions, how many of us find ourselves routinely rifling through the fridge and getting rid of produce that has gone bad? Or we try to come up with creative ways to use up produce that’s past its prime (smoothie, anyone?).
That’s why FreshPaper is such a genius idea. Put one of the 5-by-5 inch sheets in a berry carton, bag, fruit bowl or produce drawer and the paper, which is infused with the oil of herbs and spices, inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi. The result? As a Consumer Reports test found, a sheet of FreshPaper added to strawberries packed in their original container staved off mold for at least two weeks, compared to strawberries without the paper.
Unopened, the sheets can be stored for up to two years, but once in use, the sheets can be reused for 3-4 weeks.
As the Consumer Reports test notes, fenugreek is a legume and those with allergies to peanuts, chickpeas or other legumes may have to avoid it because of the potential for cross-reactivity.
Developed by Harvard grad Kavita Shukla, the paper’s primary ingredient is fenugreek. The initial idea for the product came to Shukla when she was a young student visiting relatives in India. She inadvertently drank some water, which she had been told to avoid, and her grandmother whipped up a spice tea made from a family recipe to stave off illness. When Shukla returned to the States, she began experimenting with various spices and continued to do so over the course of years.
The Cambridge-based company launched FreshPaper in 2010, selling it initially in farmer’s markets and a local natural foods store in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area. Their social mission is to reduce the global problem of food spoilage and waste. A TED talk and this awesome video later, the company is growing in households and commercial applications.
Fenugreen FreshPaper Produce Saver Sheets, $9.99, fenugreen.com