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The Brown Paper Bag Is Your New Kitchen BFF

The brown paper bag might be known for its starring role in school lunches, but it’s also a useful tool in the kitchen. Keep a stack on hand for everything from ripening fruit to extending shelf life to popping up an afternoon popcorn snack. Read on for the details! 

Maximize Mushroom Shelf Life

Paper bags are porous, making them ideal for mushrooms, which release moisture as they age. Store loose ’shrooms in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week to keep them as slime-free as can be. Then try Bobby Flay’s Roasted Portobello Mushroom Caps with Hazelnut Gremolata

Ripen Your Avocados in a Hurry

Got guacamole on the mind but nothing but hard avocados? Stick ’em in a paper bag with a banana or an apple and roll the top down! Both emit a natural hormone called ethylene that will help your avocados ripen within a day or so. 

It Works for Stone Fruit, Too!

Much like apples and bananas, stone fruit like peaches, plums, and nectarines also produce ethylene. You can follow the same drill for faster ripening, just throw your haul in a paper bag, roll the top down, and let the magic happen. Once ripe, might we suggest our easy Stone Fruit Cobbler

Customize Your Popcorn

Paper bags allow you to portion homemade popcorn for easy on-the-go snacking. (We might sneak a bag into the theater from time to time.) And, as an added bonus, they also allow you to diversify toppings: Parmesan and black pepper, nutritional yeast and chili powder, the spice drawer’s the limit! 

Will strawberries ripen in a paper bag?

When ripening citrus fruits and tomatoes, many people reach for a brown paper bag, which traps the ethylene gases produced by these fruits. Because the fruit absorbs the gas, it ripens faster. Strawberries only produce a small amount of the gas, which means this isn’t an effective ripening method. The best way to get your strawberries to ripen is to leave them sit in the open air at room temperature. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on what stage they begin at.

Like this? Read more:

The Misfits Market Guide to Composting

Our Favorite Produce Storage Hacks

Fresh Produce That Shouldn’t Be Stored Together

Comments (2)

Yay! Let us know how these brown paper bag tricks work out for you, Debra. ????

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