Bluapple Produce Preserver: Does it work?

It's estimated the average household of four throws away as much as $600 worth of produce a year because it goes bad.

A $10 device for your refrigerator bin promises to help solve that problem. It's called Bluapple. A special packet inside the apple shaped plastic container is supposed to absorb the ethylene gas that fruits and veggies produce as they ripen- so they stay fresh up to three times longer.

For our test, I purchased two each of romaine lettuce, carrots, green peppers, cucumbers, and broccoli and did my best to make sure each pair was as closely matched as possible. Half of my crop went in one bin. Half went in the other. But only one bin got a Bluapple.

The frig went unopened for 19 days. The produce in both bins looked about the same. Each head of lettuce appeared equally gone. The skin on both peppers was pretty puckered. The broccoli with the Bluapple actually seemed to be worse off than the broccoli without. I couldn't tell the carrots apart and the Bluapple cucumber looked to be in slightly better shape- but not by much.

I tried it again with two bananas in different bowls on the counter. After four days, the banana by itself was not quite as speckled as it's Bluapple counterpart. I did a third test with pears, cucumber and parsley. After nine days, the only difference I could see was that the parsley without Bluapple showed signs of starting to go bad.

At this point, I figured Bluapple was not really worth the investment. So I shared my results with the Bluapple company President Tim Chou. Chou told me the single Bluapple was actually absorbing ethylene gas in all of the refrigerator space, so the separate bins didn't matter. He said that's why I didn't notice much difference in my test results.

Chou sent me a link to a recent performance report by an independent research lab in Australia, along with more information on how to keep produce fresh longer. He points says he's sold more than a million Bluapples since 2010 and has only had 69 requests for refunds.