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Kavita SHUKLA

Fenugreek Food Preservative






FreshPaper Kavita Shukla



http://www.forbes.com/sites/hollieslade/2014/03/20/the-amazingly-simple-invention-that-stops-fruit-and-veggies-going-bad/
http://keelynet.com/news/032214l.html

Simple Invention Stops Fruit And Veggies From Going Bad

The drawer of the refrigerator – where most bags of salad, blueberries and raspberries go to die. I learned a nifty tip recently – putting cilantro in a cup of water makes it last ages. Kavita Shukla, a Harvard-graduate-turned-entrepreneur, came up with something much more clever.

Sheets of paper infused with a top secret recipe of spices which you put in the drawer with the fruit and veggies. Dubbed ‘the dryer sheet for produce’ it extends their lifespan two or four times. Called FreshPaper, it’s a totally natural and organic way of keeping food fresh for longer, which is food for thought considering the average U.S. household of four throws out between $1,350 and $2,275 worth of groceries every year.

Originally targeting farmers selling raspberries and other soft fruit, passersby overheard and wanted in. “It just sort of went viral,” says Shukla. Soon Whole Foods got wind of FreshPaper via a small write up in the local paper and wanted to schedule a meeting. As Shukla’s company, Fenugreen was only selling FreshPaper at a handful of co-ops and farmer’s markets around Boston at the time, she says “never would have thought of approaching them” at that stage.

But Whole Foods loved the product and FreshPaper was in 70 stores within six months, scrambling to hand make the first few orders in Shukla’s kitchen. Within eight months FreshPaper was in all Whole Foods stores as well as shipping to 35 countries. The company’s seen 800% year on year growth since then and has recently scaled up production at its facility in DC.

Fenugreen donates one pack of FreshPaper for every sold. “We sell FreshPaper to make it available to those who need it most, the 1.6 billion people living without refrigeration in the developing world, as well as food banks and food pantries here at home that struggle to provide fresh, healthy food to the hungry,” says the company.



http://www.fenugreen.com/
Email us: hello@fenugreen.com
Call us: 424-260-FENU (3368)

FreshPaper

FreshPaper by Fenugreen is a simple piece of paper that keeps fruits & veggies fresh for 2-4 times longer, organically.

Often described as a "dryer sheet for produce," one small (5" x 5") FreshPaper sheet can simply be dropped into a fridge drawer, fruit bowl, or any other container filled with produce.

FreshPaper is infused with organic spices and has a distinctive maple-like scent that signals that the paper is active.

Biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable, this award-winning innovation has received international recognition for its potential to change how the world keeps its food fresh.

FreshPaper was created by a young inventor who happened upon the active ingredients after accidentally drinking some tap water while visiting her grandmother in India. Her grandma gave her a home remedy - a mixture of spices, which kept her from getting sick.

After years of research and development, (starting with a middle school science project!), she discovered a new application of her grandmother's generations-old home remedy - a remarkably effective way to keep food fresh!

Fenugreen was founded in 2010. It all started with handmade batches of FreshPaper handed out at the farmer's markets and street fairs in Cambridge, MA.

Today, Fenugreen FreshPaper is used by farmers and families across the globe, and Fenugreen is establishing initiatives to benefit local food banks in the U.S. and small-scale farmers in the developing world.



Fenugreek impregnated material for the preservation of perishable substances    
US6372220

The present invention to a material that is coated with or soaked in a suspension of a botanical extract such that particles of said natural botanical extract are in contact with, embedded on, or embedded within the material. The present invention can be used to preserve perishable substances such as edible substances or foods by extending their freshness, shelf life or suitability for consumption by living organisms. Botanical extracts suitable for the present invention include botanical extracts that have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral or other preventative or curative properties. The botanical extract coated material described in the present invention is suitable for applications such as the packaging and preservation of perishable substances such as fruits and vegetables, meat products, dairy products, edible substances, non-edible substances and other perishable substances. Specifically, the material is impregnated with an extract of Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum).

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to a material that is coated with or soaked in a suspension of a botanical extract such that particles of said natural botanical extract are in contact with, embedded on, or embedded within the material. The present invention can be used to preserve perishable substances such as edible substances or foods by extending their freshness, shelf life or suitability for consumption by living organisms. Botanical extracts suitable for the present invention include botanical extracts that have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral or other preventative or curative properties. The botanical extract coated material described in the present invention is suitable for applications such as the packaging and preservation of perishable substances such as fruits and vegetables, meat products, dairy products, edible substances, non-edible substances and other perishable substances.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Perishable edible substances such as fruits and vegetables are subject to spoilage during growth and ripening, while they are being transported and when they are placed on the shelves at retail outlets such as grocery stores. Thus, from the farming process to the retail of many foods, significant losses are often incurred by the spoilage of significant proportions of a given sample of a food type. This can result in significant losses to farmers, distributors and retailers and even result in food shortages in regions or countries where food is scarce. Currently a number of chemicals, waxes and other synthetic products are used to spray, coat or cover perishable foods to prevent or delay the onset of spoilage. Washing fruits and vegetables with certain chemicals such as antibacterial chemicals or sulfur can slow down the spoilage process. Fruits and vegetables are also subject to infestation by insects and other natural predators and a number of chemicals and synthetic insecticides are currently used to preserve fruits and vegetables during the growing stages. For many other foods, preservatives are added to the food itself to prevent spoilage.

[0004] Yet, many of the currently used methods are not suitable for all types of foods such as fruits and vegetables and many of the currently used preservatives, insecticides and other preservation methods are not always effective in preventing spoilage for sufficient time periods. Furthermore, chemicals and toxins used for preservation can seep into foods such as fruits and vegetables and the chemicals and toxins can often not be sufficiently removed when such foods are prepared for consumption by living organisms. This presents toxicity concerns for consumers. The market for organic foods has grown significantly in recent years as consumers seek to obtain foods that are free of chemicals and other toxins. Therefore, there is a strong need for non-toxic, natural agents that are effective in preventing spoilage of edible foods and that hold anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and insecticidal properties. Perishable substances, as described in the present invention, also include non-edible perishable substances such as therapeutic botanical substances.

[0005] The botanical extract-coated material described in the present invention presents many advantages over currently available tools and methods for preserving perishable substances. In the present invention many different materials can be used in combination with a variety of botanical extracts from plants of different species. For example, paper or cardboard can be coated with an extract from the seeds of fenugreek (trigonella foenum-graecum). Fenugreek has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and is effective in preventing the growth of pathogens. Thus, when foods, such as strawberries, are placed on wrapped in the fenugreek-coated paper, their freshness is preserved for a longer period of time since pathogens such as bacteria and fungi do not grow as easily on their surface. The foods can be placed in contact with the material containing the botanical extract in any configuration that is suitable for reducing the spoilage of such foods. Botanical extracts such as fenugreek can also have applications such as preventing the proliferation of pathogens in applications such as tissue culturing.

ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The botanical extract coated material described in the present invention offers a number of advantages over currently available methods because it:

[0007] presents low or no toxicity risks, depending on the type of botanical extract used;

[0008] provides a safe, natural alternative for the preservation of perishable substances;

[0009] can be easily prepared with botanical extracts such as fenugreek extracts;

[0010] can be developed for different types of perishable food packaging and holding applications; and,

[0011] can be developed for large-scale production.

[0012] Various features of novelty that characterize the present invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its advantages and objects, reference is made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The foregoing and still other objects of this invention will become apparent, along with various advantages and features of novelty residing in the present embodiments, from study of the following drawings, in which:

[0014] FIG. 1 is an expanded view of one embodiment of a material with particles of a botanical extract embedded on it, according to the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 2 is an expanded view of one embodiment of a fruit placed on a material with particles of a botanical extract embedded on it, according to the present invention.



DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0016] Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a material (1), in this instance a sheet of paper used to wrap fruit, which is coated with particles of a botanical extract (2). The material (1) can consist of at least one type of material selected from the group comprised of, but not limited to, paper, cardboard, paper products, paper derivatives, shredded paper, pulp, wood, cotton, tree bark, leaves, grass, plant materials, synthetic paper, synthetic sheets, synthetic polymers, plastic, metal, natural wax, glass, ceramic, porcelain, synthetic wax, natural foam, synthetic foam and combinations thereof. While the material (1) is shown in a flat sheet configuration in FIG. 1, it is understood that the material (1) can be part of a form selected from the group comprised of a box, a container, a holding device, a bottle, a jar, a rectangular shape, a circular shape, a sheet shape, a spherical shape, a cylindrical shape, a cubical shape, a conical shape, a spheroid shape, an irregular shape, a wrapping material, a holding material, a padding material, a filling material and combinations thereof.

[0017] The botanical extract (2) can consist of any type of botanical extract, where a botanical extract is defined as a component derived from a part of a species that is a member of the plant kingdom. Thus, said botanical extract can be derived from a botanical source selected from the group comprised of plants, trees, saplings, seeds, seed coverings, barks, stems, leaves, flowers, roots, pollen, nuts, gall nuts, sap, tree sap, flower sap, flower nectar and combinations thereof.

[0018] The botanical extract (2) can be obtained from a single botanical component, such as the fenugreek (trigonella foenum gracum) seed, or it can be obtained from a combination of different types of plants or plant species. Thus said botanical extract can be comprised of combinations of different types of botanical extracts from different types of plants. For example, said botanical extract can be selected from the group comprised of a fenugreek component selected from the group comprised of fenugreek seed, fenugreek seed extract, fenugreek leaf, fenugreek stem, fenugreek sapling, fenugreek plant, fenugreek root and combinations thereof. For example paper embedded with particles of fenugreek (trigonella foenum graecum) can be prepared by different methods as described below:

[0019] coating or soaking the paper in an aqueous suspension of fenugreek seed powder whole fenugreek seeds or a combinations thereof;

[0020] coating or soaking of the paper in an organic solvent suspension of fenugreek seed powder whole fenugreek seeds or combinations thereof;

[0021] adding fenugreek seed powder to the paper during the manufacturing process; and

[0022] adding fenugreek seed powder or an organic or aqueous extract of fenugreek powder or seeds to the paper pulp during the paper manufacturing process.

[0023] The botanical extract (2), as described in the present invention, holds properties that enhance the preservation of edible substances such as fruits and vegetables. Thus, said botanical extract has at least one property selected from the group comprised of anti-bacterial properties, anti-fungal properties, anti-viral properties, bacterial proliferation inhibition properties, viral proliferation inhibition properties, fungal proliferation inhibition properties, insect-repelling and insecticidal properties. While the term botanical extract is used in the present invention, it is understood that an extract means any derivative of a botanical product, where said derivative is selected from the group comprised of derivatives of purified botanical products, derivatives of unpurified botanical products, derivatives of processed botanical products, derivatives of unprocessed botanical products and combinations thereof. Also, said botanical extract (2) can be obtained by a means selected from the group comprised of aqueous solution extraction, non-aqueous solution extraction, organic solvent extraction, non-organic solvent extraction, pH variation based extraction, chromatography separation, crude extraction refined extraction and combinations thereof.

[0024] FIG. 2 shows an edible substance (3), in this instance a strawberry, which has been placed on a material with particles of a botanical extract embedded on. it. In the present invention the term perishable substances means any substances liable to decay or deterioration; and, the terms edible substance, perishable food and foods are used interchangeably to indicate any edible item that is suitable for ingestion, absorption or consumption by a living organism. Thus, said perishable substance (3) can be selected from the group comprised of, but not limited to, food, edible substances, non-edible substances, therapeutic substances, fruits, vegetables, grain products, meat products, eggs, dairy products, perishable products and combinations thereof.

[0025] The means of preserving the edible substance (3), as described in the present invention, can be any means selected from the group comprised of extending the freshness of said perishable substances; extending the shelf life of said perishable substances; preventing insect infestation of said perishable substances; ameliorating insect infestation of said perishable substances; preventing bacterial infection of said perishable substances; ameliorating bacterial infection of said perishable substances; preventing fungal infection of said perishable substances; ameliorating fungal infection of said perishable substances; preventing viral infection of said perishable substances; ameliorating viral infection of said perishable substances and combinations thereof. The broader usefulness of the invention may be illustrated by the following example.

Example 1

Preserving Fruit By the Use of Fenugreek Coated Paper

[0026] A fenugreek extract was prepared by grinding 10 g of fenugreek seeds and soaking the resulting powder in 100 mL water. A soft sheet of paper was soaked in the resulting solution for 2 hours and the sheet was then dried overnight. One strawberry was wrapped in the fenugreek treated paper and kept in an incubator at 25[deg.] C. for 120 hours. A different strawberry was wrapped in soft paper soaked in distilled water and dried overnight. This sample was also placed in an incubator at 25[deg.] C. for 120 hours. Observations every 12 hours showed that the strawberry wrapped in the water soaked paper showed significant signs of spoilage after 24 hours while the strawberry soaked in the fenugreek coated paper showed no signs of spoilage until after 120 hours or a longer period of time. Signs of spoilage included growth of bacteria and fungi on the surface of the fruit and loss of natural, fresh color of the fruits.

[0027] While a specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the principles of the invention, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles and various modifications, alternate constructions, and equivalents will occur to those skilled in the art given the benefit of this disclosure. Thus, the invention is not limited to the specific embodiment described herein, but is defined by the appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0028] The present invention relates to a material that is coated with or soaked in a suspension of a botanical extract such that particles of said natural botanical extract are in contact with, embedded on, or embedded within the material. The present invention can be used to preserve perishable substances such as edible substances or foods by extending their freshness, shelf life or suitability for consumption by living organisms. Botanical extracts suitable for the present invention include botanical extracts that have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral or other preventative or curative properties. The botanical extract coated material described in the present invention is suitable for applications such as the packaging and preservation of perishable substances such as fruits and vegetables, meat products, dairy products, edible substances, non-edible substances and other perishable substances.




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