Want to know the secret to making your berries last longer? Keep berries fresh using the following tips!
Watch this video to see how it’s done or read the step by step instructions below.
Wasn’t that so easy?
This is exactly how I pack 3-4 days of school lunches at one time, without berries spoiling!
Berry season is upon most of us these days, and all of those vibrant, sweet fruits are calling to us from road-side stands, farmer’s markets, and grocery stores.
While my children may attempt to devour the berries as soon as they are purchased, I try to hold a few back to use in our fresh school lunches and in easy summer desserts.
In the past, my refrigerator shelf life for berries was pretty short, especially if I was dealing with strawberries or raspberries. It seemed I would bring them home from the store and find them spoiling within a few short hours.
While you can always whip up a batch of strawberry fruit leather before the berries all start to turn, you can also keep the berries fresh and whole in the fridge!
Now, thanks to a quick kitchen trick, I know how to keep berries fresh, giving me more time to use them as needed.
The secret to extending the life of fresh berries? White Vinegar. Check out these step by step directions.
Wash strawberries, blueberries, and even blackberries! Note: I don’t recommend washing raspberries, washing them will actually cut their lifespan. With raspberries, refrigeration is key.
How To Keep Berries Fresh
- Once you bring your fresh berries home, the key to keeping it fresh is to kill any spores on the fruit. The pH of vinegar does that job.
- Place the berries in a large bowl and wash them in a vinegar-water bath: 1 cup of white vinegar and 8 cups of water.
- Let the berries sit in the vinegar-water bath, gently moving them to help dislodge any dirt, grime and letting the vinegar kill spores and bacteria.
- Drain the berries in a colander and then thoroughly rinse the fruit (to remove any vinegar flavor).
- Thicker skinned fruit (like strawberries or blueberries) can be dried in a salad spinner but delicate berries such as raspberries and blackberries should be dried on a towel, patting them with paper or cloth towels.
- Store the washed and dried fruit in a sealed container that has been lined with paper towels — if using an air-tight container, leave the lid slightly open to avoid natural moisture build-up. When I handle fruit I have purchased from my grocery store, I wash the original container and then re-use it, making sure to line it with paper towels.
Eating Fresh as a family can go beyond just fruit! Click here to get my free resource that will help you eliminate processed foods & sugars from your family’s diet in just 30 days!
Other Options To Keep Berries Fresh
- A quick hot-water bath (30 seconds in 125 degree water for strawberries, raspberries and blackberries; 30 seconds in 140 degree water for blueberries) has been shown to kill bacteria, resulting fewer berries going bad.
- Commercial produce cleaner, such as EatCleaner, are another good option for cleaning fresh berries and elongating their life in the refrigerator. This is one of those multi-use products because it also happens to keep your apples from browning.
Recipes Using Fresh Berries
With all these fresh berries on hand, you’ll need some delicious ways to use them up! A few of our favorites can be found below:
- Strawberry Fruit Leather
- Fruit & Yogurt Parfait
- Blueberry Syrup
- Strawberry Syrup
- Fruit & Lemonade Popsicles
- Rainbow Fruit Skewers
What will you make first using all of your fresh fruit?
It was interesting when you explained that there are professional produce cleaning products that can be used to help them stay fresh for longer. Now that I think about it, this would be especially helpful for berries that need to be transported for a while, especially if they’re kept refrigerated as well. I enjoyed reading your article and learning more about what keeps berries fresh, so thanks for taking the time to share! https://www.fruithaul.com.au/
MOMables - Laura
You’re welcome Rebecca!
I loved the message about how to take care of berries but did not get a answer on grapes. I have small crisper drawers in my fridge and never have enough room and something goes bad all the time. I don’t really have the room for berries grapes and tomatoes.
Hi Beverly, this method will also work for grapes. Be sure to store them in an airtight container in the back of the fridge, where it’s coolest.
Do we use warm or cold water?
MOMables - Laura
cold. always cold.
Is the Rubbermaid fresh works produce saver container okay to completely close. It’s suppose to vent any moisture and air out.
MOMables - Laura
that should work!
Will the vinager wash make strawberries sweet?
MOMables - Laura
I don’t find that it changes the strawberries at all. Enjoy.
How much vinegar?
MOMables - Laura
about a cup!
Why do you put soap in something you’re going to eat? Would it work the same with just the vinager and water without the soap?
MOMables - Laura
the two small drops of soap wash off any wax residue and it rinses off clean.
How long do you typically let the berries sit in the vinegar water?
MOMables - Laura
2-3 minutes. Enjoy!
Thanks, Shanice; that was my first thought & great name btw, kudos to whoever labeled you
Just got a bunch of strawberries and cherries, so will try this w/my strawberries…can I do it w/cherries too? Thank you so much!!
you can do this same process for the cherries without an issue.
Tracey L. Carpenter
What if I only have apple cider vinegar? Will that work?
That works too!
Hi thank you for this!!! I’m just a bit confused about the sealed container vs not air tight, i take those both to mean the same thing but you said make sure its not air tight. So is an open bowl fine then with a paper towel underneath since the container shouldn’t be air-tight? Thank you!!!
Hi Lucas, an open bowl will work fine as well as re-using the container the berries came in. I often also use an airtight container (like a Tupperware) because they hold the temperature stable inside better than without a cover and with 6 of us at my house, the fridge gets open and closed a lot. I hope this clears up your confusion. :)
Does refrig reduce the flavor of berries – I know that corn on cob seems to loss flavor in frig.
Room temperature food always tastes different than cold; however, if you do not refrigerate your berries will not last.
When it comes to fresh herbs, I use the lower leaves on stems first, then put the rest in a jar, cup or vase with enough water that it doesn’t touch any leaves, just like fresh flowers. I put a baggie loosely over the tops and put on my kitchen window sill. It makes a greenhouse effect and will last for weeks/months. And some, especially oregano, rosemary and tyme even sprout roots so you can transfer back to garden or pot in soil for fresh herbs anytime! Great for winter months when “out of garden ” isn’t an option!
Thank you for this! I have always washed my strawberries and stored them like this. Blueberries and blackberries I cleaned and stored in the freezer because I didn’t trust them to last. AND, because I always have a glut of them from my garden!
That said, it would be nice to have unfrozen ones to nibble on when they are fresh and in season. I will be trying this out this summer!
They’re such great tips! I hope you get to try this with all the delicious fresh summer berries. :)
Ty so much for the idea on keeping berries fresh. Just bought some organic srtrawberries and can’t eat them fast enough. What do you do for avocados?
We never really have a problem with needing to make avocados last – they go pretty quickly. ;)
Using this method for strawberries I tried two experiments -the longest was 12 days..amazing .
I am eating organic blueberries I put in the fridge untreated two months ago and they are in good shape.
I wanna know if I could wash the raspberries in the water and vinegar?
Unfortunately, not raspberries.
Before reading post about raspberries not being rinsed first, I used same procedure. Is it ok if I dry them very thoroughly before storing? And if not, have u found a way to get them to last longer?
Raspberries are so delicate, I too feel like I can’t win!
Do you keep the stems in the berries? I like to have mine cleaned and cut so they are easy to grab it does it make a difference on shelf life if you use the vinegar wash?
sometimes. it depends what I am using them for. They seem to last the same.
Thanks….I needed that!
What is the water to vinegar ratio. I see no mention of the amount of vinegar to use.
As stated in the post: 8 cups water /1 cup vinegar
1 cup vinegar to 8 cups water
This works really great. I fill my sink and add cider/white vinegar. I take all my produce and just start adding it to the water. Let it sit a short time, then start removing to a colander, rinse and dry. I do this with bananas too, since I read to prevent fruit flies they need to be washed. It washes off the larvae. I always have a bowl of bananas out and haven’t had fruit flies since I started doing this. My strawberries lasted well over a week, since I forgot I had them in the fridge. I also do this method for veggies. My cauliflower and broccoli last much longer. It’s nice to have everything broken down then stored in a bag for quick use. It is amazing how dirty the water gets!
Another quick tip: I bought a pair of bath exfoliating gloves and they work great for scrubbing produce!
what a great tip with the bananas and the gloves!! I’m definitely going to try it! Thanks!
Brilliant!!!! So happy I found this!! Thank you!!
Thank you for all your GREAT tips! I seem to get fruit flies, especially with bananas. Any suggestions on how to keep fresh cut herbs, ie: mint and sage, fresh longer? I have a rather large basil plant that’s very full and lush. I need some ideas on other storage methods for that too. I live alone so I don’t go thru enough by myself. Can you freeze herbs?
yes, absolutely freeze herbs.
If you want to keep your herbs fresh (my preference), put them in a jar with water (like you would a bouquet of flowers) and cover with a ziplock bag. Secure the bag with rubber bands and put in the fridge. They last a long time this way — I get at least 2 weeks, sometimes more.
I am amazed to hear what you said about keeping herbs. I thought I invented that! I am the only person I know who does that and it works so well. I also do it with lettuce, celery, green onions and carrots.
Another option with your herbs: Make a compound butter (much easier when cooking/baking).
I use one stick of unsalted butter at room temperature, chop the herbs (tarragon is my favorite), place the compound butter in the paper the butter came in then wrap secondly in plastic food wrap (making a roll or stick) and twist away. Place in the freezer (up to six months).
Any time you want to cook/bake with your compound butter just slice how much you need. I usually use 2-3 tablespoon of herbs chopped per stick (8 tablespoons) of butter. (I don’t like using oil as there are “those” who say there is a chance with botulism)
GREAT site and hope we all keep these threads going.
Could this washing technique be used for lettuce and greens such as kale and spinach??? It works really well for the berries and was hoping for a way to prolong the life of my greens!
I haven’t tried it with spinach but this is how I wash, prep, and store my lettuce (all types).
Thank you! I will definitely try this.
thank you for sharing! Elaine
For spinach add a piece of kitchen roll to absorb the moisture and make it last much
longer. I’ve not tried washing them first though.
In the video you mention using a drop of dish soap, but in the written directions you don’t. I just want to make sure I do it right….do we add a drop of dish soap to the vinegar/water rinse?
When I wrote the post I didn’t use to use dish soap… but over time, I’ve found that just a drop helps remove dirt. it rinses right out. Either way, the vinegar is what will kill bacteria, not the soap.
Quick question: How come my berries had a mushy feeling on some of them? I left them in the vinegar/water for 10 min., rinsed them off really good and then left them in a strainer to drain. When I went to pat them dry some were mushy and others were ok.
a few possibilities: the first, they were overripe from the store, they were left out at room temperature too long, or they were soaked too long. They just need to be washed long enough to release the dirt and then rinsed.
Could/should you do this with grapes?
sure. i wash all my grapes at the beginning of the week.
Great tip – thanks for this! My wife and I just discovered a great new salad recipe that includes strawberries, but it’s been hard to get more than a day or two of “useful life” from a batch of strawberries. I just picked some up today, so I’ll be trying your technique.
I always thought it best to put berries immediately into the fridge and not to wash them until ready to eat or use. I would think doing it this way the moisture would cause the berries to spoil quicker.
Jeanette, with the exception of raspberries, I’ve found that the other berries last longer.
Okay, I’m confused. Can you clarify the approach we take with raspberries? Thanks!
Raspberries must be in a dry environment. cannot be washed.
this works great! I never knew how much crap was on my fruits. when you do the wash with the strawberries, the water gets a brown red tint because all the dirt and mold spores. you can actually see all the spores in the water as well. this rinse also makes the fruit taste fresher as well :)
can’t you use dawn soap and water?
sure, but adding an acid like vinegar will help kill off bacteria and mold spores already forming. Thus, making your berries last longer.
I can’t wait to buy my strawberries now!!!! I never knew how to keep them fresher and longer!!! Drove me crazy having to throw so many away last year!!!!!!! Can’t wait and thank you soon much for the “instructions”. : )
Do you purchase organic berries (because they are one of the “dirty dozen”)? Or does this method wash off all of the yucky pesticides?
This is how I wash my berries. Sometimes I purchase organic and other times I don’t. The only way to ensure that there are no pesticides in your fruit is to buy organic.
Actually the only way to make sure there are no pesticides on your fruits and veggies is to grow them yourself. Organic doesn’t mean pesticide free unfortunately.
Yes I definitely understand that, but I feel that organic is the best option out there for my family.
How long will they last after this process? thnx
about a week in the fridge.
How long do they have to sit in the mixture?
give or take 5-10minutes?
so glad i came across this today on pinterest. whenever i see the berries about to go bad in the refrigerator, i wash and put them into the freezer. it is better to keep the berries fresh longer than throwing in the freezer oh-so-often!
thanks for sharing :)
I freeze some of them too, especially if i get them on sale… but it makes me sad when by day 3 they are mushy and moldy! no more..
Could you use apple cider vinegar?
I’m sure you can. the acidity is what we are looking for.
Kelly Lester (@EasyLunchboxes)
Super great advice!! So many sales on berries right now :) – I won’t be afraid to stock up, now that I know how to keep them fresh for a longer time. Thank you :)
Awesome advice. With berry picking season here, this is especially timely.