It appears as though the endless East-coast Winter may have finally given way to Spring. With the warmer weather, refrigerators will soon be packed with fresh fruit from local farmer’s markets, co-ops, and grocery stores. However, even in the refrigerator, these fruits are prone to begin to spoil in just a few days. In the height of summer, I’m never able to make it to a full week without seeing signs of mold. BerryBreeze is a device that claims to extend the life of these perishables by 2-3x longer than normal. With those promise, how could one possibly say no?
My first impression of the Breeze system out of the box was that it was larger than I expected. Space in my refrigerator is a real commodity, anything not intended for consumption has to really make a strong case for inclusion. It’s actually fairly close in size to a box of baking soda, but the curvature makes it a bit more awkward to just push flush to the back of a shelf.
The majority of the body is a a hard white plastic with a grill allowing air circulation at the top. It’s lightweight in and of itself–but once the batteries are installed, this jumps from just a few ounces up to nearly two pounds.
I was also surprised to find that it ran on D-cell batteries rather than having a rechargeable internal lithium battery or something similar. There is no mention of how long the batteries will last before needing to be replaced, but in two months of daily use, mine is still running on the original set.
There are tabs on either side of the unit that allow the separation of top and bottom to install batteries. It doesn’t have an on/off switch, so once the batteries are in place and the two halves and snapped back together, the unit is on.
The BerryBreeze doesn’t actually run continuously. When initially set up, the green indicator light at the front of the unit remains on, there is a light whir of the internal fan, and a very strong smell of ozone–the “activated oxygen”– is emitted from the top grill. After a short while, the Breeze goes into a standby mode. It will continue to circulate oxygen periodically, and when it does, the light briefly flashes back on. This circulation is meant to neutralize bacteria and mold, thereby extending the life of fruits and vegetables.
Aside from protecting produce, this circulation and neutralization also helps with deodorizing the refrigerator. This I can attest to wholeheartedly! Hands down, the Berry Breeze kicks the butt of the standard box of baking soda. I had an embarrassing amount of old leftovers and takeout containers, as well as open cans of cat food in my refrigerator, yet every time you opened the door–no smell.
However, the real selling point of this product is the maximization of the life of food. There is no “best” area to place the BerryBreeze, and the instructions claim efficacy no matter the size of the refrigerator or placement of the device. I was really hoping this would work wonders then with the pre- washed salad in plastic containers from Costco/BJ’s. Without a BerryBreeze, after just two days in the refrigerator, the greens would either wilt or become slimy. By all accounts, the BerryBreeze should have helped the lettuce last at least four to six days. I gave it a whirl, but despite sitting right next to the Breeze, the lettuce was still beginning to spoil after those same two days.
So it didn’t perform so hot with lettuce. Next, I tried a test with berries. I happened to have access to two empty refrigerators, so I left containers of strawberries and raspberries in one refrigerator with the BerryBreeze and another set in a refrigerator without the Breeze.
This set above are from the non Breeze refrigerator. After five days, the fruit was all still surprisingly fine. The white areas on the raspberries are just white–not mold. This is still a bit early in the season for fully ripe berries. Overall, the fruit was mold-free, no spores or weird little fur spots. However, the strawberries were looking a little dry.
These berries are from five days sitting in the Breeze refrigerator. Maybe they look a little better than the other berries, but the difference didn’t seem to be drastic. These definitely don’t show signs of mold. Again, the strawberries didn’t hold up as well as the raspberries; they also appeared to be a little on the dry side.
I have been using the Berry Breeze for just about two months now, but I have yet to notice any quantifiable difference it has made in the longevity of my produce. The claim that produce will last 2-3x longer than normal is just ridiculous. On average, my fruit seemed to fare a bit better, but nothing lasted weeks. Right around the week or so mark tended to be tipping point for the BerryBreeze. Sometimes the fruit would start growing mold by then, or else the fruit would begin to dry up.
The problem with devices like this is that you just don’t see anything working. It sits in the refrigerator passively doing its thing, but the result seems to be negligible. Maybe you’ll pull a couple extra days, though nothing as drastic as the claim. It’s not a particularly noteworthy difference, or at least it wasn’t for me.
This does work incredibly well as a refrigerator deodorizer, but with a $50 price tag, unless your refrigerator is a disaster zone, it seems a bit excessive.
Admittedly, I’ve been using the BerryBreeze during an unseasonably cold spring. I’ll continue using the BerryBreeze over the summer and update this review if I notice a drastic difference.
Should you want to give it a whirl with your own produce, the BerryBreeze is available for $49.98.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by BerryBreeze. Please visit their site for more info.