Strawberries are the seasonal fruit pretty much guaranteed to liven up any picnic, barbecue, or outdoor festivity. But they’re only in their prime for such a brief time; it’s sad when they start to go moldy.
Within a few days of being picked, the delicate fruit will develop mold spores and bacteria that render them inedible. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is not safe to eat any soft fruits that have mold on the surface. Some molds, in a worst-case scenario, can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Losing strawberries to mold is disappointing, wasteful, and expensive.
Store-bought strawberries usually last between three and seven days, or perhaps less if the fruit has already been sitting out for a day or two after being picked. But luckily, there are tried and tested ways to ensure your strawberries have a much longer shelf life. It’s even possible to keep them edible for up to two weeks.
Read on for an easy four-step method to saving your strawberries as suggested by fruit aficionados at Shari’s Berries, renowned for their incredible “dipped berry” confections.
1. Pour half a cup of white vinegar (also called distilled vinegar) and two-and-a-half cups of water into a large bowl.
2. Soak the fresh strawberries in this vinegar-water mixture for approximately five minutes. The water will turn murky as the bacteria on the surface of the fruit soaks off.
3. Dry the strawberries thoroughly with paper towels. Next, choose a salad spinner to air dry more robust strawberries, or a colander for softer fruit. Make sure the fruit dries completely to ensure that bacteria aren’t tempted to recolonize.
4. Put the strawberries into the refrigerator in an airtight container lined with paper towels. The paper will soak up any residual moisture and keep your berries fresh for up to two weeks.
Another top tip for keeping strawberries fresh is to keep their stems intact until you eat them. Additionally, keep an eye on them and extricate any moldy berries from the pack to make sure they don’t spread bacteria among their neighbors.
Unless you’ve picked the strawberries yourself, you should also check the box thoroughly before you return home from the grocery store. Make sure there are no moldy berries lurking at the bottom that might spoil this delicious, summery treat.
There are so many ways to enjoy strawberries, according to Shari’s Berries. Fruit salads, smoothies, and cocktails are just three.
If you want to eat your freshly bought strawberries immediately, the berry experts say, then it’s best to leave them in their original packaging and place them on the countertop, not the refrigerator. Only wash them immediately before using them; this way, your strawberries will be good for up to two days.
If, however, your strawberry needs fall toward the other end of the spectrum, you can make them last for up to two months by freezing them. Cut the strawberry stems away and place the berries in a freezer bag; it’s as simple as that.
Halve and sugar them for an even greater lifespan: an incredible eight to 12 months. “You don’t want to end up with overly sweet strawberries that you can’t eat,” Shari’s Berries warns. “Our suggestion is to mix a quarter of a cup of sugar for every 10 ounces (approx. 280 grams) of berries.”
Try some of these tips the next time you buy strawberries and want them to last, and be sure to share these tips with your friends.