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(Columbia) Sept. 2, 2003 - Fruit looks luscious in the store displays, but keeping it that way once home is another story. The Fruit Saver claims to have the answer. Its ads say the Fruit Saver will "extend the life of fruit, so you can eat healthy foods instead of throwing them away."
Consumer Reports just the Fruit Saver, which is essentially an insulated bowl that must be plugged in. Two fans circulate the air inside the bowl to keep the fruit cool.
Cindy Fisher filled the Fruit Saver with various types of fruit, including bananas, apples, pears, strawberries and grapes. For comparison she put the same type of fruit in two other bowls, putting one bowl into the refrigerator and leaving the other on the counter.
Four days later Cindy checked on the fruit, and the Fruit Saver was already having trouble. Strawberries, for instance, were moldy. After 11 days she compared the fruit samples from all three bowls.
The fruit left on the counter fared the worst as the bananas turned brown, the grapes withered and the strawberries were covered in mold. The fruit in the refrigerator looked pretty good, except the bananas turned a strange shade of brown.
Fruit in the Fruit Saver fell somewhere in the middle. The strawberries were shriveled and moldy, and the grapes were withered, but the Fruit Saver performed better with bananas, which looked great.
Consumer Reports recommends savings $80 and skipping the Fruit Saver. Everything but bananas will stay fresher in the fridge. Consumer Reports the Fruit Saver is also an electricity hog; it costs about $55 a year to run, more than a lot of refrigerators.
After this story aired, WIS got an e-mail from Nancy Heil of Lugoff:
If you put your bananas in a brown paper bag before you put them into the refrigerator they keep better. And even if they look dark, the fruit on the inside is fine for quite some time.