Whether you’ve heard about it already or not, I have a feeling The Swag is going to be the Next Big Thing in clean eating. So is this new Aussie product worth the hype? Will it really save you money and reduce food waste?
The Swag is a range of organic unseeded cotton bags in which you store your fresh produce. I’m aware that this doesn’t sound very exciting. But let me tell you about The Green Bean Moment…
I was cooking dinner and pulled out The Swag in which I stored my green beans. These were hand-picked locally and were pretty amazing to start with. I munched on a bean, as you do when you’re cooking, and nearly fell to the floor with joy. This bean was unbelievable. Perfect, in fact. I actually did a happy dance in the kitchen (and ate the whole swag-full, sorry kids).
I had bought those beans a week ago; they were actually better than when I first brought them home.
Until this point, I had been a bit half-hearted about the whole Swag thing. You need to wet the bags and put everything inside them, which means decanting them from plastic bags or nets if that’s how they came. I also wasn’t sure about not being able to see what’s inside each bag. When you open my fridge, you see these calico-coloured bags everywhere instead of the bounty of fresh produce after market day. So for the first week or so, I wasn’t completely sold.
After the bean incident, however, I became a true convert. Now, as soon as I get home from the market or grocer, I fill the sink, wash all the produce and dunk the bags, squeezing any excess water out. The bags have coloured trimming so you can develop a coding system that words for you. I am a basic soul, so my system goes like this: green stuff in the green-trim bag, yellow-orange-red stuff in the orange-trim bag. (Okay, there’s slightly more to it than that because I have the four-bag starter kit but the point is: do whatever works for you).
Using swags definitely makes my produce last longer. No more slimy spinach or soft cucumbers for me. Like most parents, I can only manage a weekly shop – even though I’d love to visit the market every day – and I come home with enough fruit and veg to last me the whole week. I noticed today that I needed a lot less (the cost difference was about $10) because I had a small swag of usable veggies left. If I’m going to save $10 every shop, then it won’t take long for The Swag to be cost-neutral (the starter kit is $70).
I don’t generally throw food out – I will stay up past my bedtime making soup or a curry with the bottom-of-the-fridge scraps rather than throw them out – but I haven’t had to do this for weeks. I also find myself (and the kids) eating a lot more raw veg because it has that “fresh-as” quality for longer.
Here are some more things you need to know about using The Swag bags:
- Only put unripened fruit in them to preserve it; pull the fruit out the day before you want it and allow to ripen on the bench. The exception is apples and grapes, which are amazing when they come out of a Swag.
- You don’t have to keep the bags in the crisper section, they can go anywhere in your fridge.
- You will need to The Swag bags every couple of weeks, they are happy in a cold wash in the washing machine with a dash of vinegar on the final rinse.
- They have three layers and the water is stored in the middle layer so your veggies aren’t sitting in a “wet” bag but drawing moisture when they need them.
- When the swags feel dry, you give them a quick splash on the outside only – no need to remove everything. It makes a huge difference keeping them damp, well worth it.
- Root veggies (potatoes, sweet potato, ginger etc) are happiest in a dry swag in a dark cupboard.
- Mushrooms also go in a dry swag but in the fridge. I asked Pieta, the creator of The Swag about mushrooms and she had this further advice: “If your mushies come in a brown paper bag, you can put the bag into a Swag but remember, do not wet The Swag for mushies –they love a dry Swag. Mushies don’t have to be in the crisper either –they can be in the general fridge section as they like a slightly dryer climate. If your mushies are a bit slimy when you put them in, give them a wash with a slash of white vinegar and allow them to dry naturally before putting them in The Swag.
My favourite eco store stocks The Swag, check it out here at Biome and let me know what you think!
What are your tips for reducing food waste?
**Product supplied for review**