Strawberries are a delicious fruit that are liked by so many. When they're in season they're usually a budget-friendly snack or treat to pick up at the local grocery store and not feel guilty about. It's also a fun family outing to go fresh strawberry picking at your local strawberry picking patch. Use the tips and tricks covered in this post to learn how to pick the best, most flavorful strawberries and how to properly store them for short and long term storage.
Finding out how to properly store your cut strawberries and uncut berries, in the refrigerator, freezer and on the counter at room temperature will help you choose the proper method based on when you want to use your strawberries so you can help them retain their color, shape, delicious sweet flavor, and all of their amazing nutrition and health benefits.
- Health benefits of strawberries
- How do you choose ripe strawberries?
- General strawberry storing tips
- How long do fresh strawberries last at room temperature?
- How long do fresh strawberries last in the fridge?
- How long do strawberries last in the freezer?
- How to tell if strawberries have gone bad?
- More topics to explore
Health benefits of strawberries
Not only are ripe strawberries absolutely delicious and can be used in soooo many recipes, they can supply our bodies with various health benefits that shouldn't be passed up.
Strawberries can help lower your blood pressure, increase your good (HDL) cholesterol, help protect your body against cancer from the antioxidants, and are good for over heart health.
They're packed with many minerals, vitamins (like vitamin C and B9), are a good source of fiber.
Strawberries are also a wonderful source of manganese, potassium, and folate.
Choosing the best strawberries really sets your recipes that you use them in above the rest!
I like using fresh strawberries for my Vegan Strawberry Cake recipe, and I really enjoy tossing the frozen variety in a fruity Strawberry-Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie for a quick breakfast or gluten free, no sugar added snack.
How do you choose ripe strawberries?
Choosing ripe strawberries helps you enjoy the perfectly sweetened, flavorful strawberries right when you get them.
Strawberries do not continue to ripen once they've been picked and removed from the stem.
If picking them fresh from the strawberry patch, only pick the ripe ones to ensure that you get the most flavorful berries possible.
Here are some characteristics of ripe strawberries:
- Ripe strawberries should be a nice shade of rich red all the way from the tip to the portion under the green caps. No white should be visible.
- The green stem and tops of the berries should be a bright green in color.
- If the strawberry plant looks weak or is starting to die, try to avoid picking those berries that have fruited from that specific plant.
- Don't choose the strawberries that are surrounded by bad strawberries as they have most likely started to transfer the bacteria and other things that start the decaying process and these berries will not last long, even if they still look okay at the moment.
- When choosing strawberries at the grocery store or farmer's market, avoid containers of strawberries that contain any crushed or moldy ones if possible.
- if you’re looking for strawberries with the best sweet flavor, try to choose medium-size strawberries and avoid ones with lots of white or pink coloring.
General strawberry storing tips
- Make sure the container that you choose to store your fresh, ripe strawberries in allows for good air flow to pass through so that the strawberries can breathe.
- When buying strawberries, as soon as you get home, remove the crushed, moldy, soft, or gross-looking strawberries so they don't destroy the berries that they're touching. I also recommend patting all your berries dry and removing any excess juices or water that may be on them from when they were stored from wherever you bought them when you first go through the container.
- Do not wash your strawberries until you're ready to use them. Rising them in the water will speed up the decaying process.
- You should store your berries uncut, as whole berries when possible. Cutting them reduces the shelf life of strawberries.
- When possible, remove the berries from the original container and store them in a different shallow container so they're not piled on top of each other.
- If it's strawberry season and you picked your berries at a patch and originally stored them in a plastic bag while picking, transfer them to a more appropriate container as soon as possible once you return home.
- As soon as you notice any berries going bad, promptly discard them.
- Strawberries like to be kept at low temperatures (32°F to 36°F) and high relative humidity, making the crisper drawer in the fridge the best place to store them.
How long do fresh strawberries last at room temperature?
Strawberries left at room temperature do not last long at all.
If you plan to use your strawberries the same day that you get them, or within the next day or so, you can store them on the counter at room temperature in the original packaging.
Otherwise, you need to store strawberries in the fridge or by other means of storage because strawberries are a highly perishable type of produce.
How long do fresh strawberries last in the fridge?
Storing your fresh strawberries in the fridge is the preferred way to store the ripe berries if you plan to use them in the next week or so.
To properly store your container of strawberries, I recommend removing the spoiled strawberries first so they don't affect any other berries. Then if possible, pat them dry to remove excess moisture and store them in a separate container in a single layer, two layers max.
When possible, line the bottom of the container with paper towels to absorb any moisture or juices that the strawberries release. Change these towels often.
Then cover the container loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate them.
Whatever container you choose, make sure it's well ventilated and be sure the berries have enough room to breathe.
Properly stored strawberries should last around 7 days. This will vary depending on how old the strawberries were when you first got them and the storage method that they were in (if applicable) prior to you getting them.
Alternatively, you can preserve the strawberries to last a little longer by using a vinegar wash.
Putting your fresh fruit through a vinegar bath helps prevent the strawberries from molding so soon as the vinegar kills the mold spores and keeps the strawberries fresh longer.
To perform a vinegar wash, take 5 ½ cups of cold water and put it in a large bowl. Add a ½ cup of vinegar to the bowl and place the whole strawberries in the mixture.
Let them soak for 5 minutes before rinsing them and placing them in a single layer on top of a paper towel to dry for 20 minutes.
A third method to try is to store your unwashed strawberries in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator. This is supposed to extend the life even longer.
How long do strawberries last in the freezer?
To get your strawberries to last longer, the freezer is the best option.
If you want to freeze them, pat them dry with towels first and place the berries on a wax paper lined cookie sheet or baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 3-4 hours.
This is very important because any water or juice on the berries will turn icy after freezing and will cause the frozen berries to become mushy or watery when you go to defrost them later.
Once the berries are frozen solid, remove the tray from the freezer and place the individual strawberries in a freezer safe container or freezer safe zip top bag for long term storage.
They'll last about a year in the freezer, any longer than that and they will start to get freezer burn. One of the simple ways to avoid this is by vacuum sealing them.
It's also important to note that you can freeze strawberries whole, sliced, crushed, and with or without sugar.
How to tell if strawberries have gone bad?
Here are some signs that your fresh berries have gone bad:
- Have dark spots
- Have mold spots
- Show signs of bruising
- Lost smell or color
If you find that you have a bunch of bad berries, sometimes you can pop them in a bowl of cold ice water to revive them a bit.
More topics to explore
- How long do potatoes last in the fridge?
- How long do carrots last in the fridge?
- How long do blueberries last in the fridge?
- How long do lemons last in the fridge?
- How long do avocados last in the fridge?
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