Want to know how to make those fresh berries from the farmer’s market or grocery last as long as possible? By the end of this post, you’ll learn everything from how to wash and store strawberries to storing them so they stay ripe and ready to eat.
Summer is berry season, and these bright, red gems we know as strawberries are useful for many delicious reasons like Homemade Fruit Leather or to whip up an easy summer dessert. The simple tips below will ensure that your berries last as long as possible.
How to Keep Strawberries Fresh
Keeping berries fresh is as easy as following the steps below:
- Toss the bad ones
- Wash the berries in vinegar water
- Remove all moisture
- Leave the stems on
- Keep them dry and cold
It’s often stated to NOT wash berries immediately after purchasing them from the grocery store, but this simply means rinsing them off with water and storing them half wet in the fridge. With the excess moisture, the berries will indeed spoil quickly.
However, if you follow the method above and further discussed below, your strawberries shelf will stay good longer and be safer to eat.
How to Wash Strawberries
Don’t worry, we aren’t washing berries with soap but a simple homemade solution of vinegar and water. This is effective in extending the fridge life of strawberries and a simple process. Here’s how to do it:
Place the berries in a large bowl and wash them in a vinegar-water bath of 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 with water to remove any of the vinegar flavors.
Dry the berries off using a salad spinner or in between clean kitchen towels, gently patting to remove excess moisture.
Line the strawberry container or any airtight container with paper towels and add the berries. If using an airtight container, leave the lid slightly opened to prevent any excess moisture from forming on the inside.
One of the most frequent questions is- “what’s better? Vinegar water or an organic produce wash?”. A valid question, and this depends on what you have available. Over the years, I’ve found that using a vinegar-water mixture is more effective and appealing than most produce washes.
However, if you have a produce wash on hand, put it to use. Keep in mind that while this helps clean the strawberries, they won’t last as long as those rinsed in the homemade solution.
If you’re a visual learner, watch along as I wash a huge batch of strawberries and blueberries below!
Cleaning Strawberries with Vinegar
The acidity of vinegar helps gently kill spores and bacteria on the fruit, speeding up the decaying process. Don’t worry, this won’t give the berries a weird, vinegary flavor since you’ll rinse the berries off with additional cold water before drying and packing.
How to Store Fresh Strawberries
As previously mentioned, strawberries or any fresh berry is best kept in dry, cool places. Here’s how to store your berries in the fridge:
Once the strawberries have been washed, dry them in between 2 clean kitchen towels, gently patting them to remove excess moisture, or place them in a salad spinner to ring off the water droplets.
Tuck them away
Line the plastic strawberry container or an airtight container with paper towels and add the berries. If using an airtight container, leave the lid slightly opened to prevent any moisture from forming in the container.
Storing Strawberries in the Fridge
The fridge is the best spot in the house for storing strawberries that you want to keep fresh for a while. They will keep for up to 2 weeks in these conditions, and if you notice one of the berries starting to spoil, throw it out. One bad berry will ruin the entire bunch.
How to Freeze Strawberries
Having frozen strawberries on hand can be useful for smoothies and baked goods. Since they will be frozen, you don’t have to worry about drying them off, but I recommend you still rinse them with vinegar water or a fruit wash to remove any dirt and bacteria. Here’s how to prep and freeze strawberries.
Place the berries in a large bowl and wash them in the vinegar-water mixture, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 8 cups of water. Drain the berries and rinse with cold water.
Using a pairing or fruit knife, gently remove the stems and quarter or halve the berries. Spread the berries in an even layer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer and freeze for up to 30 minutes or until solid.
Add the frozen berries to a freezer-safe zip bag, label with the date, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Frozen berries don’t need to be thawed if using for baked goods or smoothies. However, if you need them to top over a cake or to make a parfait, there are a few simple tips to thaw frozen strawberries:
In the Fridge
Transfer the desired amount of frozen strawberries to a bowl or airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 hours or overnight or until soft enough for use.
In Cold Water
- Transfer the desired amount of frozen strawberries to a bowl or airtight container.
- Fill the container with cold water and allow to sit for 10-30 minutes or until thawed and soft.
- Drain and use as needed.
In the Microwave
This method can leave the berries slightly mushy but if that’s not an issue, carry on.
- Line a large microwave-safe plate with a paper towel. Place a single layer of frozen strawberries onto the plate.
- Set on defrost and microwave for 30 seconds before stopping to check. Repeat in 30-second intervals until the berries reach the desired temperature.