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How to Keep Berries Fresh – No MOLDY Berries!

Learning how to keep berries fresh will change your life! No more moldy, wasted berries going in the trash just days after purchasing them. All you need are fresh berries, water, and vinegar to keep your berries fresh for up to 21 days.

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We’ve all been there.

You open up the carton of berries you just bought a couple of days ago and half of them are moldy! Gross!

You dig around to salvage the ones you can, but they’ve been hugging up to the moldy ones, but your attempts are futile. You throw the berries (and your hard-earned money!) into the trash.

My mother-in-law taught me this trick to keep my berries fresh for almost forever. Sometimes I get cocky and think, “I don’t need to do it, I’ll use these up before they go bad!”

BOOM.

MOLD.

a carton of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries

After nearly eight years, I’ve learned my lesson and do the everlasting berry hack every time before the berries even see the fridge. Read on to learn how I pick my berries (this whole process starts at the store) and the life-changing trick for how to keep berries fresh!

Table of Contents

HOW TO KEEP BERRIES FRESH LONGER

To keep your berries fresh longer, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Pick and purchase the right berries.
  • Wash the berries under cool running water.
  • Soak the berries in a water and vinegar solution.
  • Dry the berries as best you can.
  • Store the berries under a paper towel in an airtight container.

I will go into more detail on each of these points above. Read on for my best tips on how to keep your berries fresh.

WHAT DO I NEED TO PREVENT MOLDY BERRIES?

Berries, Water, and Vinegar are all you need for the everlasting berry hack!
  • Berries
  • Water
  • White Vinegar (I use the 5% white vinegar from Costco)

That’s it! These are the only “ingredients” you need. You’ll also need:

  • A large bowl
  • A colander that fits into said bowl
  • Paper towels (if you prefer, you can also use a clean dish towel)
  • An airtight container
berries in a tupperware

Here are some important tips to keep in mind to help your berries last longer:

  • Because the original berry containers are vented, berries stored in them will not last quite as long. To make your berries stay fresh longer, store berries in a large, shallow tupperware with an airtight lid, lined with paper towels.
  • Change the paper towel every couple of days if you notice it is really moist or saturated.
  • Do not smash the berries with a lid or other things on top of them.

In the next few sections, I’ll run through a detailed explanation of how to keep strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries fresher, longer, starting with how to shop for each one.

How to pick and Buy the Best fresh strawBerries

Berries are seasonal, but they’re still readily available year-round for the most part. In the spring and summer, they are usually more plentiful and affordable and more expensive in the winter.

I like to purchase my berries from the refrigerated section of the produce department, not the ones that are out on display at room temperature. These berries generally have been picked over less, and they are refrigerated. That means that there is less chance of mold growing on the berries before they even get to my house.

strawberries in a container

First, I look at the bottom of the container. If I see a smashed or moldy berry hiding, I abandon ship right away. In the same breath, if I see any berry juice in the container, I pick another one.

If something has been leaking or smashed, it has likely gotten over all the berries around it, which means it is “infected” (for lack of a better term) with more moisture and bacteria.

If they look shrivelled or the seeds are very prominent (the flesh has shrunken down around the seeds), they are old and should not be purchased.

Next, I pick them by color. I look for strawberries that are bright red all the way up to the stem and have as little pink or white as possible. After that, I look at how green the leaves are. If the leaves are gray and wilted, they’re old.

Then, I look for size. The gigantic strawberries generally are white in the middle and aren’t as sweet, so I like picking cases that have the most even distribution of similar, medium-sized berries.

Instant Pot chocolate covered strawberries
Check out my recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberries for all the tips on how to make the best chocolate covered berries!

HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRIES LAST LONGER

To make strawberries last longer, you need to start with good, healthy strawberries. I cannot emphasize this enough — and the same concept holds true for all berries. So, before anything else, I’m running you through my ultimate guide to picking the best strawberries.

Tip 1: Buy in-season

Berries are seasonal, but they’re still readily available year-round for the most part. In the spring and summer, they are usually more plentiful and affordable and more expensive in the winter.

Tip 2: Buy refrigerated

I like to purchase my berries from the refrigerated section of the produce department — not from the display at room temperature. These cold berries generally have been picked over less, and the cold has preserved them better. That means that there is less chance of finding mold hiding on the berries from before they even get to my house.

Tip 3: Buy clean and fresh

Right away, I look at the bottom of the container. If I see a smashed or moldy berry hiding, I abandon ship right away. In the same breath, if I see any berry juice in the container, I pick another one.

a closeup of a carton of strawberries

If something has been leaking or smashed, it has likely gotten over all the berries around it, which means it has “infected” them (for lack of a better term) with more moisture and bacteria.

If the strawberries look shriveled or the seeds are very prominent (the flesh has shrunken down around the seeds), they are old and should not be purchased.

Tip 4: Buy bright and small

Next, I pick them by color. I look for strawberries that are bright red all the way up to the stem and have as little pink or white as possible. After that, I look at how green the leaves are. If the leaves are gray and wilted, they’re old.

Then, I look for size. Here’s a golden tip: avoid big strawberries. Those gigantic strawberries generally are white in the middle and aren’t as sweet, so I like picking cases that have the most even distribution of similar, medium-sized berries.

berries on a towel

How to pick and buy the best fresh blueberries

Blueberries are the easiest and most forgiving of the bunch, because they are a bit more durable that strawberries and raspberries.

I pick the best blueberries by choosing the ones that look super plump and have crisp edges on their little crowns. Then, checking the bottom for smashed or leaky berries. Don’t get them if they look really wrinkly and dark. They’re old and shriveled.

blueberries floating in vinegar water

HOW TO STORE BLUEBERRIES 

Again, the process for how to store fresh blueberries correctly begins in the supermarket, so that’s where my tips begin. 

Tip 1: Buy plump, crisp, and light blue

My process for picking blueberries and raspberries is very similar to my process for picking strawberries, albeit perhaps a bit easier as blueberries are the easiest and most forgiving of the bunch. They’re a bit more durable than strawberries and raspberries, so it shouldn’t be as hard to find good ones.

I pick the best blueberries by choosing the ones that look super plump and have crisp edges on their little crowns. Then, I check the bottom of the container for smashed or leaky berries. Don’t get any berries that look really wrinkly and dark because that means they’re old and shriveled.

Tip 2: Enjoy the simplicity

Like I said above, blueberries are one of the easiest berries to store. If you buy a good, fresh batch in the store and rinse them properly, they should last you for quite a while.

a carton on blueberries in an airtight container

How to pick and buy the best fresh raspberries

My process for picking raspberries and blueberries is very similar to strawberries.

Raspberries are soft and delicate berries, which is why they are packaged in a single layer. Raspberries are also the first to go bad, which is why it’s important to get them as fresh as possible!

First, I look for the reddest raspberries I can. The ones that look pale in color were picked before they were ripe, and are oftentimes hard.

I look into the container through the top, bottom, and sides to check for existing black or cloudy mold. Lastly, I make sure every berry looks intact and not torn apart.

Beautiful red raspberries, no mold!

HOW TO KEEP RASPBERRIES FRESH 

Raspberries are soft and delicate berries, which is why they are packaged in a single layer. Raspberries are also the first to go bad, which is why it’s important to get them as fresh as possible! Follow these tips to keep them fresher, longer.

Tip 1: Look for vivid color — and avoid black

When you’re shopping, look for the reddest raspberries you can find. The ones that look pale in color were picked before they were ripe, and are oftentimes hard.

Look into the container through the top, bottom, and sides to check for existing black or cloudy mold. Lastly, make sure every berry looks intact and not torn apart.

Tip 2: Dry carefully

After the drip-dry, you can spread the berries on a dish towel to get as much moisture off of them as possible. I generally only do this with raspberries and make sure they are all facing down so the “cup” part of the raspberry drains any water. You want as little water as possible on the berries.

raspberries floating in vinegar water

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS TO KEEP BERRIES FRESH 

This hack has prolonged the life of my berries from less than a week to up to 21 days!

The average is probably 14 days. These are the steps I take to help extend the life of berries and prevent mold.

Keep in mind that this trick does not REVERSE molding or aging in the berries — berries that are already old and moldy will not magically become fresh again.

  1. Quickly wash berries in their original container under running water.
  2. Remove any loose leaves, bugs, twigs, etc.
  3. Remove any existing moldy, smashed, or sad looking berries. You know the ones I’m talking about.
  4. Gently transfer the berries into a colander that will nestle into a large bowl.
  5. Fill said large bowl with cold water (I never measure). Ideally, select a bowl that your colander will fit into. If you don’t, that’s ok too. (I like to use my salad spinner bowl because the colander fits perfectly inside! You could also use your steamer basket and the liner to your Instant Pot!)
  6. To the water, add about ½-¾ cup white vinegar and give it a quick stir or swirl.
  7. Dunk the colander full of berries into the water so the berries are all submerged. They will float, so I gently pat them in the water to get them all covered in the vinegar water bath.
  8. If your colander doesn’t fit into the bowl, just dump the berries straight into the water. You can then pour the berries and water through the colander when you’re done (just like draining pasta).
  9. Let the berries hang out in the vinegar water for just 2-4 minutes. Raspberries will become waterlogged and start to come apart if you leave them in too long, so I only do about 2 minutes.
  10. Pull the colander out of the water and let the berries drip dry for about 5 minutes. Do not rinse the berries. You want them as dry as possible.
  11. Line the container the berries came in or an airtight container with paper towels.
  12. Gently transfer the berries to the tupperware or original container and add another paper towel on top of the berries.
  13. Keep berries in the refrigerator and use as needed. They are fine to eat as-is and do not require another rinsing.

Voila! This trick will help you to keep your berries fresh for a significantly longer time!

berries in a tupperware

BERRY FAQ

HOW DOES VINEGAR PREVENT MOLDY BERRIES?

The main concept is that the vinegar kills most of the bacteria that’s on the berries, which then prevents mold spores from growing and extends the berries’ shelf life.

DO THE BERRIES TASTE LIKE VINEGAR?

Nope! I’m sitting here trying to think of a more thorough explanation but I can’t. The paper towel on the bottom might smell like it, but the berries do not taste like vinegar.

DO THE BERRIES STILL TASTE GOOD AFTER THE HACK?

Strawberries and raspberries in a paper towel lined container help prevent moldy berries

Berries on day 1 and day 21 will not be the exact same berry. This hack extends optimal freshness about a week longer than normal. But in my experience, when I’ve done everything possible to keep them fresh, they are fresh enough to eat weeks after purchasing.

DO THE BERRIES NEED TO BE FRESH?

I like to do this as soon as I get the berries fresh from the store, but you can do them a day or two after. This hack does not reverse the aging process, so don’t try it with already moldy or frozen berries. The point is to kill the bacteria as soon as possible, then lock the freshness in at its freshest point.

Store berries in the fridge in an airtight container to prevent moldy berries and for optimal freshness

DOES THIS HACK TO KEEP BERRIES FRESH WORK ON OTHER FRUITS LIKE GRAPES?

Yes! This hack works on other berries such as blackberries, cherries, and grapes. I love adding grapes to my FAVORITE Chicken Salad Sandwiches!

grapes in a container

About Lisa

Lisa childs holding an instant pot lid with a mickey instant pot

Lisa Childs is the food blogger behind Tried, Tested, and True. Join the hundreds of thousands of people each month that learn from Lisa-

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how to keep berries fresh up to 21 days
berries in a tupperware

How to Keep Berries Fresh

Yield: Fresh Berries- No Mold!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: easy

This berry hack will keep your fresh berries and other fruit fresh for much longer using simple household ingredients. Note this hack does not reverse molding or aging.

Materials

  • Fresh Berries - Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, etc.
  • 8-12 cups fresh, cool water (tap water is fine)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • Large bowl*
  • Colander*
  • Clean dish cloth
  • Paper towels
  • Air tight containers, optional

Instructions

  1. Pick the freshest berries possible using my tips in the post
  2. Rinse and wash berries in their container under cool, running water. This removes any dirt, leaves, or other foreign objects. Remove any twigs or leaves.
  3. In a large bowl, add the water and vinegar.
  4. Place the berries in a colander (one berry type at a time) and lower it into the water/vinegar solution. Let soak for 2-4 minutes. Drip the berries dry and transfer them to a clean towel to dry.
  5. Repeat with all the other berries. I do strawberries first, then blueberries, then raspberries last.
  6. Let the berries dry on a towel to remove as much of the moisture as possible.
  7. Line the original berry containers or a tupperware container with two paper towels. Transfer the dry berries to the containers and seal with an airtight lid, or close the lid the berries came in. For even more optimal freshness, add another paper towel to the top of the berries before adding the lid.
  8. Replace the paper towel as needed if it gets really moist or wet. Store the berries in the refrigerator for up to 14-21 days.

Notes

*I like using my salad spinner bowl and colander for this step, because the colander fits perfectly in the bowl. If you don't have a salad spinner, you can soak the berries in a bowl and then drain the berries in a larger colander, use a frying net, or any other strainer you have. You can ever use a slotted spoon.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Jamilah Williams

Tuesday 20th of April 2021

LIsa, this was a great video! What brand is your salad spinner? I really like its straight edges.

Lisa Childs

Friday 20th of August 2021

Hi Jamilah! Sorry, I don't know the brand! It is about 15 years old if not older, haha. I looked on amazon and they are all a little more bowl shaped than mine, but here's a highly rated one with a flat bottom https://amzn.to/2WgldwG

Ann Wood Noel

Wednesday 1st of July 2020

Hi just wondering which concentration of vinegar you buy (%)?

Lisa Childs

Tuesday 14th of July 2020

I buy any white vinegar. The one I get from costco is 5%!

20 Foods to Feed Your Baby Before Age 1 | Bangladesh Nationalist Party

Saturday 7th of March 2020

[…] adults do, and what’s more delightful than splendid red or dim blueberries? Serve little or hacked berries as finger nourishments, or mix them in the blender for a flavorful puree that is as great spread on […]

Brianne

Wednesday 24th of April 2019

GENIUS!!! I am definitely going to try this! And your kids don't notice a difference at all either?

Lisa Childs

Thursday 25th of April 2019

Not at all! There's no vinegar taste :) - Lisa

Iza

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

But vinegar is so not good for us....

Lisa Childs

Thursday 25th of April 2019

The vinegar is not harmful to ingest! - Lisa

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