Keep Strawberries Fresh for Weeks with This Simple Hack!

Berries tend to be some of the biggest disappointments in terms of longevity. They’re fresh and beautiful when you buy them but rotting and heading to the garbage, sometimes as soon as the very next day! And with the pints being as pricey as they are, this egregious waste is made all the worse.

Trying to decipher the best method for storage to get the maximum amount of time possible with your berries can be maddening. It appears every house has their own way of going about it, articles on the internet can’t seem to agree, and various social apps are never short of a new trend or trick.

Nonnegotiable Rules of Strawberry Storage

Finding one definitive way to keep all of your berries fresh might be near impossible, but there are a few practices absolutely agreed upon.

Pick Out the Bad Berries 

First, sort the berries. As soon as the prized crimson fruit graces your kitchen, go through them to spot any spoilsports good and early. Just one deteriorating berry can cause the whole lot to kick the bucket much more quickly. If it’s dull, sad, mushy, or (obviously) moldy, toss it out for the sake of the others. Continue this practice of checking as long as you have the berries and, of course, always examine them well for signs of mold before eating them.

Keep Them Whole

Second, keep the berries whole, including leaving any stems or leaves intact if they still have them. Tearing off leaves or stems and especially hulling the strawberries will expose the mold-prone juicy flesh to air and bacteria, speeding up the rotting process. It might be tempting to get a jump on your prep, but doing so is a sure way to say sayonara to your fruit.

Keep Them Dry

Third, in a vein similar to fresh mushrooms, moisture is a fresh berry’s biggest enemy. No matter which method you utilize for storage, only wash your berries when you’re about to eat them, and only wash the amount you need.

Keep Them Cool

Finally, berries belong in the fridge. Once purchased from a farmer’s market, they can last about a day or two on the counter, but unless you plan on eating them within that time, the refrigerator is where they need to go.

What to Store Strawberries In

At this point, and mostly in response to the third point above, you may be thinking, “But I keep reading about this method of soaking strawberries in a white vinegar and water solution…” My response to that is, yes, I have read that too. But it seems as though for every person who has found success with this method, there are many more who haven’t. It is tried and true that moisture brings mayhem, a fact that simply can’t coexist with this storage method. The trick, it’s said, is to ensure the berries are fully dry before placing them in the fridge. This seems too risky to me, but feel free to try it for yourself. 

Beyond that, there’s much debate about air. Should strawberries be in an airtight container? In a Mason jar with the lid screwed on tight? In a container with the lid left askew? Left in their original packaging? Placed in a colander?

There are about just as many people who believe strawberries thrive in high humidity (vents closed in the crisper drawer or placed in a sealed container/ glass jar) as there are people who believe paper towel-lined breathable containers or colanders are the perfect choice. Personally, I find that strawberries are one of the few fruits that store well in my vegetable — or high-humidity — drawer.

You’ll need to check on your berries often, so choose whatever method works best with what time and/or space you have. Place the strawberries in a single layer on a paper towel in a flat, airtight container or purchase a “produce keeper” that filters out ethylene gas for you, acting as its own crisper drawer of sorts. You could keep them in their original container in the high-humidity crisper drawer, checking on the ones near the bottom often or try out the Mason jar method, being careful to use multiple jars to avoid crowding the berries too much.

The Bottom Line

One of the most important things to think about is the berries at the bottom, or simply overcrowding. Strawberries are delicate things with thin skins, and those that bear the weight of the others or get smushed against the sides of the storage container, will expose themselves more quickly to rotting as their soft flesh is punctured, the wet areas welcoming mold, etc.

To get the most life out of your berries, I suggest you: Keep them whole, keep them dry, keep them spaced out (if possible), keep them in the fridge, and keep them covered/in high humidity. That’s the best you can do.