There's nothing in the entire world like fresh strawberries from the farmer's market or grocery store. I am a complete sucker for fresh strawberries, so whenever I see them on sale I always grab a carton or two, however, sometimes my eyes seem to be bigger than my stomach. More times than not I've come back to my berries in the fridge a day or two later to discover my fresh strawberries are starting to grow mold spores. And not just strawberries, more often than not my blueberries and blackberries would be moldy before I got the chance to eat them all.
It turns out I had been storing my berries all wrong. So to keep your strawberries fresh and extend the shelf life of your berries (and veggies) follow these helpful tips.
How To Keep Strawberries Fresh With White Vinegar
Strawberries generally last 3-5 days in the fridge before going bad. Or, they can make it for up to a year in the freezer. However, their shelf life depends partly on how they're stored, as some methods will keep them fresh for longer than others.
If your berries are in the fridge and are on the verge of going bad, you can use a vinegar wash. Simply mix up a vinegar wash and give your berries a little soak. According to Food52, this trick has the ability to add days (or even weeks) to your fresh berries. The vinegar bath, which is 1 part vinegar, to 8 parts water, helps eliminate any mold or bacteria that is on the berries, lengthening their shelf life.
Dunk your berries in the vinegar bath and give them a little swirl to dislodge any dirt. Remove the berries and transfer them to a colander and rinse with cool water to make sure all traces of vinegar are rinsed off. Nobody likes vinegar berries!
The next step is to remove all the exterior moisture from the berries and this can be done best with a handy salad spinner. Line the spinner with about three layers of paper towels and spin as you would lettuce. The paper towel acts as a blanket for your berries, ensuring none get bruised in the drying process.
Before you go any further, recycle that clamshell packaging and find a large airtight container. Place paper towels at the bottom of the container to capture excess liquid and add the berries in a single layer. Place the top on an angle, letting the berries breath and to avoid trapping moisture.
How To Keep Strawberries Fresh With Hot Water
No vinegar in the pantry? Heat up some water to a temperature between 120 and 140°F and dip your berries in for 30 seconds, following the same drying process as above. The warm water will kill any lingering bacteria and keep your berries feeling super fresh. It's essential that you make sure the berries are totally dry before storing them, since moisture will make them go bad faster.
Along with using these methods, it's important to use an airtight container, like a glass jar or an airtight bag. Before putting your strawberries in, make sure they're completely dry. In fact, it's best to avoid rinsing them until you're ready to eat them, since this can leave moisture on the berries even if you do your best to dry them. To ensure that the berries stay nice and dry, put a paper towel in the container you're using, layering the strawberries on it to soak up any extra moisture.
How To Keep Strawberries Fresh Longer After Cutting
If you're not going to use your strawberries immediately, it's always best to leave them whole and not cut them until you're ready to eat, since this makes them go bad much faster. However, sometimes you end up cutting more than you need and end up with pre-cut strawberries that need to go back into the fridge. Already cut up your berries? The best way to keep them fresh is sugar! Add 1/4 cup of sugar for every 10 ounces of berries into a bowl and mix together the berries and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes and drain the excess liquid and transfer the sugared berries into a freezer-safe container. Store in the freezer for up to a year.
Whether it is for a smoothie or a dessert, make sure to follow these tips to keep your strawberries as fresh as can be.
How to Store Strawberries in the Freezer
If you have far too many strawberries to keep in the fridge even using vinegar or hot water, you can always store them in the freezer. This extends their shelf life to up to a year, but the longer they stay in the freezer, the more freezer burn they'll have. Because of this, it's best to use your frozen strawberries within a few months. To freeze them, start by placing the berries in a colander and rinsing under cold running water.
Dry the strawberries and take out the hulls, pinching the green stem to remove them. Transfer the strawberries to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and put them in the freezer for 2-3 hours. When they're totally solid, place the berries in airtight freezer bags. Use a straw to suck out as much air as possible before closing the bag, since this will reduce the freezer burn that builds up on the strawberries.
Write the date on your bags and place them in the freezer. Now you can enjoy the sweet taste of summer no matter the weather!
This post was originally published on July 1, 2019.