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This life hack 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.
We’ve all been there.
You open up the carton of berries you just bought a couple days ago and half of them are moldy!
You dig around to salvage the ones you can, but they’ve been hugging up to the moldy ones and your attempts are futile. You throw the berries (and your hard-earned money!) into the trash.
How to keep berries fresh longer
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!”
After nearly 8 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 then the life-changing trick for no more berries!!
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 them 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
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.
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.use m
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.
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.
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.
What do I need to prevent moldy berries?
- White Vinegar
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’re prefer, you can also use a clean dish towel)
- An airtight container
How to Prevent Moldy Berries and Keep Berries fresh longer
This hack really does keep berries fresh forever. Ok, it isn’t forever, forever. But I’ve prolonged the life of my berries from less than a week, up to 21 days!
The average is probably 14 days. These are the steps I take to help extend the life of berries to 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 be fresh again.
- Quickly rinse the berries in their original container under running water.
- Remove any loose leaves, bugs, twigs, etc.
- Remove any existing moldy, smashed, or sad looking berries. You know the ones I’m talking about.
- Gently transfer the berries into a colander that will nestle into a large bowl.
- Fill said large bowl with cool 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 because the colander fits perfectly into the bowl!
- You could also use your steamer basket and the liner to your Instant Pot!
- To the water, add about ½-¾ cup white vinegar and give it a quick stir or swirl.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Line the container the berries came in or an airtight container with paper towels.
- Gently transfer the berries to the tupperware or original container and add another paper towel on top of the berries.
- 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 prevent moldy berries for a significantly longer time!
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How to keep the berries fresher, even longer
- 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.
- Because the original containers are vented, they will not last quite as long. To make them last even longer, use a large, shallow tupperware with 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.
Why does the berry hack work to prevent moldy berries?
The main concept is that the vinegar kills most of the bacteria that’s on the berries, which prevents mold from growing and extends their 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 they do not taste like vinegar.
Do the berries still taste good after the hack?
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.
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.
Don’t Forget to Pin this Post!
- 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*
- Clean dish cloth
- Paper towels
- Air tight containers, optional
- Pick the freshest berries possible using my tips in the post
- 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.
- In a large bowl, add the water and vinegar.
- 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.
- Repeat with all the other berries. I do strawberries first, then blueberries, then raspberries last.
- Let the berries dry on a towel to remove as much of the moisture as possible.
- 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.
- 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.
*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.
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