Keep your strawberries fresh for as long as possible! We tested six methods to find out how to store strawberries and were surprised by the best technique.
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Fresh strawberries are so luscious and flavorful, especially when you pick your own or buy baskets from a local fruit stand at the height of strawberry season. It’s like there’s a taste of summer in every berry! Growing strawberries from seeds isn’t that tricky but keeping them fresh can be a challenge. They’re so delicious that no one wants to lose even one precious strawberry to mushiness or mold.
There are a lot of opinions out there on how to store strawberries, so we put some popular methods to the test. Here’s what we learned about storing strawberries, and the method we liked best.
How We Tested These Methods
All of the methods below were tested by keeping the strawberries in the refrigerator for seven days (except for the freezer method). Because strawberries and other fresh berries tend to have mold spores on their surfaces, they spoil faster when left out at room temperature. Keeping them in the fridge slows down this process so you have more time to use them. It’s the best option when you need to keep your strawberries for more than a day or so.
So what’s the best way to store them in the fridge? Here’s what we found out.
The Best Methods to Store Strawberries
Method 1: Original Container
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
About This Method: Strawberries are typically sold in plastic clamshell boxes or berry baskets made of wood or cardboard. They have openings along the sides and lid to let air flow around the berries.
How To Do It: This is the easiest method to try. Just pop the container in the fridge! (Though if you see moldy or mushy berries, remove those first.)
Did It Work? This method works fine to store your fresh strawberries in the fridge for a few days, but after seven days they had some mushy spots and a few, tiny specks of mold growing. The leaves also looked withered. The strawberries for the most part were still edible, and would be best sliced up for a recipe so that the bad spots can be cut away.
The Verdict: Not bad.
This is a fine storage method if you’re in a rush, as long as you plan to use the berries in 3-5 days. Any longer and they begin to spoil and look unappetizing.
Method 2: Vinegar Bath
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
About This Method: Freshly picked berries have naturally occurring mold spores on them, which is what eventually will make them spoil. Rinsing strawberries in a vinegar bath kills these spores, so they can’t affect the berries.
How To Do It: For this method, stir one cup of white vinegar into two cups of water. Place the whole strawberries in the mixture and gently swish them around for about a minute. Then rinse the berries off under clean water (this mini colander is perfect for washing berries). Lay the strawberries out to dry on a tray lined with a dish towel. When they’re completely dry, place them back in the original container and store them in the fridge.
Did It Work? Other sources sing the praises of this storage method, so we were surprised with the results. We even tested the method twice to be sure. The strawberries looked bedraggled and dark, with shriveled leaves and soft spots. Although there were no signs of mold, the berries didn’t look appealing at all.
The Verdict: Skip it.
Strawberries absorb water when they’re washed and this accelerates their decay. Even though they were laid out to dry, the strawberries still had the moisture they absorbed, and this ultimately affected their freshness. It’s best to wait to wash strawberries until right before you need them for your recipe.
Method 3: The Crisper
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
About This Method: Crisper drawers in refrigerators are designed to be storage spots for fruits and vegetables. The drawers have vents to create high or low humidity environments that help produce last as long as possible.
How To Do It: Place whole strawberries on a tray lined with clean paper towelsor reusable refrigerator liners. Since moisture speeds decay in strawberries, the paper towels will help by absorbing moisture on the strawberry surfaces or leaking juices. Once your tray of berries is in the drawer, open the vents to let moisture escape and keep humidity low.
Did It Work? After seven days, the strawberries for the most part looked good. Although the leaves were limp, and we did find one berry that was beginning to grow mold, the majority of the strawberries were still firm and ready to eat.
The Verdict: It works.
The crisper drawer does what it’s supposed to do: it prevents moisture from building up on the strawberries, so they stay fresh. Spacing the berries out in a single layer on absorbent paper towels was also key to keeping the berries dry. If you weren’t already using your crisper drawer for fruit, it’s about time you did!
Method 4: With FreshPaper
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
About This Method: FreshPaper is a product designed to keep produce fresher longer. The compostable paper sheets are infused with spices that naturally inhibit the bacteria that causes fruits and veggies to spoil. (And the sheets smell amazing!)
How To Do It: It’s very easy: the directions for FreshPaper say to just drop a sheet in with your produce wherever you’re storing it, in the fridge or at room temperature. We tucked a sheet in the original container holding our strawberries.
Did It Work? The results were similar to those of the strawberries in the crisper drawer, although there were a few more strawberries near the bottom of the carton that had mushy spots. The majority of the berries were still firm and tasty.
The Verdict: Pretty good.
FreshPaper seems to keep its promise of inhibiting bacteria, since there was no mold on the strawberries. Because the berries were piled in a carton there was less airflow to the berries near the bottom, and they began to develop soft spots. If the berries were laid in a single layer with a sheet of FreshPaper, we think they’d do well in the fridge for the full seven days.
Method 5: Freezer
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
About This Method: Fresh berries are stored in freezer bags in the freezer, where they last for months instead of days.
How To Do It: Rinse and dry whole strawberries, then remove the stem and leaves with a knife or a hulling tool. (This makes the berries easier to use once they’re thawed.) The right gadgets will make the process go much more smoothly. Don’t missour other favoriteberry tools. Place the strawberries inside resealable freezer bags, and press out all the air. Freeze the strawberries in a flat, single layer, and once they’re frozen you can move the bag where you need to in your freezer.
Did It Work? The strawberries freeze up beautifully, and this gives you the chance to hang on to their summer flavor for longer than if you store them in the fridge. The only downside is that strawberries will lose their firmness when thawed, but there are plenty of ways to use them.
The Verdict: Great for long term storage.
Freezing strawberries is an excellent choice. When sealed well, the berries last for several months. It’s important to use thicker, freezer safe bags so that your strawberries won’t absorb odors. Also, squeeze all the air out to prevent freezer burn from forming. Because freezing breaks down the cell walls of the berries, they will be soft and juicy when you thaw them. Use the thawed or partially frozen berries in smoothies and milkshakes, in baked dishes like cobblers or muffins, and to make strawberry sauce.
Method 6: Mason Jar
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
About This Method: Fresh, whole strawberries are sealed inside glass mason jars with metal lids and bands, then refrigerated.
How To Do It: Check through your strawberries to remove any that have mushy spots or mold. Place your unwashed strawberries in a glass mason jar, and stack them loosely so that they aren’t squishing each other. Tightly fasten the metal lid and band on the jar, then put it in the fridge.
Did It Work? Yes! This is our favorite of the six methods. If you don’t see any difference between the before and after photos of this method, it’s not a trick. After seven days the strawberries looked as fresh as they did on day one, with plump, firm fruit and fresh leaves. It was so satisfying to find the strawberries looked and tasted this perfect after a week in the fridge.
The Verdict: We love it!
No air can get into the sealed mason jars, and this seems to hold off the decay of the strawberries. There’s just enough natural moisture in the fruit that the berries stay firm and the leaves stay vibrant. When we opened the jar it made the same pssshh! noise that you hear when opening a soda: that’s the ethylene gas produced by the strawberries escaping. It’s important that the strawberries go into the jar unwashed, and that any iffy berries are removed so they don’t affect the rest.
Things to Remember When Storing Strawberries
No matter which storage method you decide to try, there are a few rules about storing fresh strawberries to know. All of these tips will help your berries stay fresher and better looking for a longer time.
Sort the berries
Just as one bad apple can spoil the bunch, one moldy or deteriorating strawberry will cause the rest of the berries to spoil faster, too. Check boxes of strawberries carefully at the store before you buy them. When you get your strawberries home, sort through them and remove any that have mold or look mushy.
Leave the stem and leaves on
Hulling the strawberries, or even just tearing off the leaves and stems, exposes the flesh of the fruit to air and bacteria, which will cause them to rot quickly. It’s best to leave strawberries whole with leaves and stems intact until you’re ready to use them.
Wait to wash them
It’s a good idea to wash berries, but wait to do this until just before you’re ready to use them. Strawberries absorb water quickly and once the surfaces are saturated they will quickly turn to mush or get moldy. Learn how to clean strawberries to keep the berries fresh for longer.
There are some recipes like chocolate covered strawberries, where you’ll want use the whole berries after washing. For these times, rinse the berries quickly in cold water, and handle them very gently. Then, spread them out on a tray lined with a clean dish towel to air dry. Turn them occasionally, so they can dry on all sides and around the leaves. Once they’re completely dry to the touch, use them right away.
Store in the refrigerator
Unless you’re planning to eat or use your fresh strawberries within a day of bringing them home, the refrigerator is the best place to store them. (And you can choose which method to try!) The cold temperature will slow down the spoiling process so you’ll have your berries for longer.
The Best Desserts for Strawberry Lovers
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Taste of Home
Mamaw Emily’s Strawberry Cake
My husband loved his Mamaw's strawberry cake recipe. He thought no one could duplicate it. I made it, and it’s just as scrumptious as he remembers. —Jennifer Bruce, Manitou, Kentucky
Easy Fresh Strawberry Pie
For my mother's birthday, I made this strawberry pie recipe instead of a cake. Since it was mid-May in Oklahoma, the berries were absolutely perfect. It was a memorable occasion for the whole family. —Josh Carter, Birmingham, Alabama
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I won first prize in a dairy recipe contest with this tasty strawberry trifle. You can double the recipe and make two for large groups. —Norma Steiner, Monroe, Wisconsin
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These luscious cheesecake-stuffed strawberries are the perfect bite-sized dessert. —Stephen Munro, Beaver Bank, Nova Scotia
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Chocolate-Strawberry Celebration Cake
Although I have some great "from-scratch" recipes, this chocolate strawberry celebration cake uses a boxed mix with plenty of doctoring. It has become a popular groom's cake that gets more attention than the wedding cake. —Nora Fitzgerald, Sevierville, Tennessee
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Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler
Mom's yummy cobbler is a truly wonderful finale to any meal. This family favorite is sweet and tart, chock-full of berries and rhubarb, and the thick crust is so easy to make. —Susan Emery, Everett, Washington
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I grew up helping my mom make a lot in our farmhouse kitchen; strawberry shortcakes, roasts, soups and pies. This sunny strawberry shortcake recipe brings back memories of family summers on the farm. —Janet Becker, Anacortes, Washington
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Taste of Home
Strawberry/Rhubarb Crumb Pie
Everyone seems to have a rhubarb patch here in Maine. This pie won first prize at our church fair; I hope it's a winner at your house, too! —Paula Phillips, East Winthrop, Maine
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Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
A fruity filling and fluffy coconut topping truly make these strawberry oatmeal bars one of a kind. They really dress up my trays of Christmas goodies. —Flo Burtnett, Gage, Oklahoma
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Strawberry Sorbet Sensation
On hot days in Colorado, we chill out with slices of this berries-and-cream dessert. The layered effect is so much fun. Use any flavor of sorbet you like. —Kendra Doss, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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THIS Is the Best Way to Keep Your Strawberries Fresh? ›
Strawberries will stay their freshest when dry and cold, and any added moisture will soften the strawberries and encourage mold growth. So instead of washing all of your berries right when you get home from the store, wash them as you plan to eat or prepare them.What is the best way to keep strawberries fresh after picking? ›
Strawberries are best when prepared and eaten in the same day, but if you must keep them longer, store them in your refrigerator. Arrange the berries in a shallow container, separating out any damaged berries. Cover them loosely, and keep at 35 degrees for best results.Is it better to keep strawberries in the fridge or not? ›
Because strawberries and other fresh berries tend to have mold spores on their surfaces, they spoil faster when left out at room temperature. Keeping them in the fridge slows down this process so you have more time to use them. It's the best option when you need to keep your strawberries for more than a day or so.How do you keep strawberries fresh for 2 weeks? ›
Just keep it in an airtight jar in your fridge. "If you put your fruit, like strawberries, in a glass jar in the refrigerator, they stay fresh for 2 to 3 weeks!" This method of storing food is actually pretty popular amongst the zero-waste community.Do strawberries keep ripening after picked? ›
In fact, strawberries do not ripen after being picked which is why it's important to check them in store before purchase, and make sure your own homegrown strawberries are fully ripe – but not overripe – before harvesting. Strawberries from the kitchen garden should be red all over and bright.Where is the best place for strawberries in the fridge? ›
If you don't plan to eat your strawberries the day you bring them home, the best place for them is in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. It helps to maintain humidity and keep the berries from losing moisture and becoming dry.Why do strawberries mold so fast in the fridge? ›
Why do berries go bad so fast? It comes down to moisture… and mold. Berries tend to be quite porous, water-rich and delicately skinned, meaning they soak up excess moisture in their environment very easily. They also pretty much all carry mold spores, which grow rapidly when moisture is plentiful.Should you wash strawberries in vinegar? ›
What is the best way to wash strawberries? The best way to wash strawberries is to rinse them with water and then soak them in a vinegar for about 20 minutes or soak them in a water and baking soda mixture for about 15 minutes.Does washing strawberries in vinegar make them last longer? ›
One of the great things about vinegar is that it destroys harmful bacteria so bathing your strawberries in it will keep them fresh longer. And don't worry about your berries tasting like vinegar. You'll be washing it off.Do strawberries keep better in a glass jar? ›
My tests proved that the best way to store fresh strawberries to make them last longer was to place unwashed strawberries in a glass storage container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate them.
Do strawberries last longer in water? ›
His method includes dunking berries in a pot of 125°F water (which is hot but not quite simmering) for 30 seconds, then transferring them onto a paper towel-lined sheet tray in the fridge. The hot water bath is said to suppress mold growth, thus making the berries last longer.Do strawberries need ventilation in the fridge? ›
A crisper drawer with the humidity vent opened will maintain a drier environment and allow for ethylene gas to escape, effectively slowing the ripening process and ensuring your berries can rest in a cool, well-ventilated space until you're ready to snack on them.How do you make strawberries and berries last longer? ›
It's simple really: just give them a quick bath in a vinegar and water solution the moment you get them home, dry them, and place them in a clean container lined with paper towels. The vinegar helps to kill any mold that could cause them to spoil, and this method can make them last as long as 10 days in our house!Does not washing strawberries make them last longer? ›
Once berries are exposed to any moisture, they go bad really quickly. I recommend only cleaning as many as you'll use. BUT if you do want to wash all of them at once, make sure you dry them super thoroughly to remove any moisture. We want them to last as long as possible!Do strawberries ripen more in the fridge? ›
Refrigerate if not used right away.
Strawberries do not ripen after picking so putting them in the refrigerator does not slow the ripening. It does, however, slow the progression of mold growth on or between the berries if they will not be used for eating or cooking shortly after picking.
Place the strawberries in a colander, and rinse them with cold water under the tap for several minutes. Gently rub each strawberry with your hand to loosen any stuck-on dirt. Remove the strawberries from the colander, and pat dry. Eat the strawberries immediately, or try a recipe like our Strawberry Vanilla Cake.Is it better to store strawberries whole or sliced? ›
Unrefrigerated, berries will last only a few days; stored in the fridge, they could last up to a week. Keep in mind that whole strawberries tend to last longer than sliced, and be sure to throw out any moldy berries—you don't want one bad one spoiling the whole bunch!Should strawberries be stored in an airtight container? ›
Colanders are perfect for strawberry storage, allowing air to circulate freely. Unlike whole berries, once strawberries have been cut or hulled, they should be stored in an airtight container to protect the exposed flesh from mold and bacterial development, significantly reducing shelf life.Should strawberries be washed? ›
Whether you've bought fresh, organic strawberries from a farmer's market or strawberries from the grocery store, you should always wash strawberries before snacking on them or cooking with them.Should you wash berries before storing? ›
One of the cardinal rules of keeping berries mold-free is to leave them unwashed until the moment before consumption. But, by washing your berries in a solution of vinegar and water, you can extend their shelf-life by days (sometimes even weeks!).
How long do strawberries last out of the fridge? ›
Strawberries should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cutting them. If they are left out for more than 2 hours, throw them away.Do you wash fruit before storing in mason jars? ›
If the fruit isn't washed before storing it in a mason jar, the bacteria will spread, and the fruit won't last very long. To avoid having fresh fruit go bad inside a mason jar, it's essential to wash and dry it properly before storage.How do you clean strawberries so they don't mold? ›
Rinse the strawberries in a vinegar and water solution. Vinegar is supposed to kill any potential spores of bacteria on the fruit. Mix together a cup of vinegar and three cups of water in a large bowl. Add strawberries and let them sit in the rinse for several minutes.How long does it take for strawberries to rot in the fridge? ›
Therefore, strawberries should be kept refrigerated or frozen to extend their shelf life. If kept in the refrigerator, strawberries will likely go bad within 7 days.Does washing strawberries make them mold faster? ›
Method 1: Wait — Then Wash Strawberries in Water
The reason for this is that, while washing berries cleans away any bacteria and mold spores, excess moisture, can cause bacteria or mold to grow, and the berries to spoil more quickly.
For whole berries: Freeze the berries in a single layer on a baking sheet to keep them from getting stuck together. Once they're solid, transfer the berries to a container, such as FreezerWare™, or a zip freezer bag such as Glad® Freezer Zipper Gallon Bags.Is it better to wash strawberries with salt or vinegar? ›
Do you wash strawberries with salt or vinegar? You can wash strawberries with both, though neither are necessary—water works just fine! If you want to wash with salt though, you can dissolve one teaspoon in a couple of cups of warm water.Do you rinse strawberries after soaking in vinegar and water? ›
Mix vinegar and water: Add 3 cups cold water and 1 cup vinegar to a bowl. Soak 5 minutes: Add the strawberries and soak for 5 minutes. Rinse: Drain and rinse with thoroughly cold tap water. This removes all vinegar flavor!Can I use apple cider vinegar to keep strawberries fresh? ›
This requires apple cider vinegar which actually destroys harmful bacteria. Dunking the strawberries in it will keep them fresh for longer. This is such a simple little tip, if you're worried about it making your strawberries taste like vinegar, don't worry, they won't.Should I put my strawberries in a Mason jar? ›
The clear winner is to store strawberries in mason jars in the fridge! Yup, you heard that right, simple, traditional mason jars. Gone are the days of storing strawberries in a crisper drawer in the original container. You can store many types of berries using this method.
Why do you cover strawberries with plastic? ›
In strawberries using plastic mulch can prevent the soil from getting too warm or too cool, allowing growers to time their harvest better and even speed up the cycle. It helps suppress weeds and protect strawberries from dirt, mold and fungus. Bush berry growers use plastic-covered hoop houses to protect their crops.How do you keep strawberries fresh with vinegar and baking soda? ›
For this one, take a solution of 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the mixture. Then add in the berries and let them soak for 15 minutes.Can you soak strawberries in vinegar to prevent mold? ›
Vinegar Bath to Kill Mold
Combine 3 cups cold water and 1 cup white vinegar in a large bowl or salad spinner. Immerse berries and swish around for about a minute. Drain berries, then rinse with clean, cold water until any trace of vinegar aroma or taste is gone.
If you rinse them, the vinegar wash should have no effect on the taste of the berries.Why do people put strawberries in their water? ›
The Benefits of Strawberry Infused Water
Strawberries are packed with vitamins, minerals and other anti-oxidants, which are excellent anti-aging weapons that help restore health to your skin, hair, and nails. The fruit used simply infuses through the water without releasing its calorie content.
When your strawberries start to look kind of mushy or bruised, you can soak them in a bowl of ice water for 20 minutes to revive them. After 20 minutes or so in an ice water bath, the strawberries plump back up and turn bright red again. There were photos to prove it!Which drawer for strawberries? ›
Strawberries should be stored in the high humidity produce drawer – that's the vegetable drawer. I know, it's weird to keep fruit in a vegetable drawer. As strawberries get older (if they stick around long enough), they will either get moldy or they'll dry out and start to shrivel up.Do you store strawberries in the crisper drawer? ›
Here are some fresh tips on how to store strawberries.
Strawberries are best stored in cold & humid conditions, so keep them in your refrigerator in a crisper drawer. The large holes in their plastic grocery container allow for more airflow than the berries need.
Keeping your berries in an airtight container with paper towels will keep the berries fresh for at least two weeks.Should I put a paper towel in with my strawberries? ›
To keep berries fresh, place them on top of a paper towel in a sealed container to absorb excess moisture and reduce chances of molding.
Is it better to store strawberries in glass or plastic? ›
My tests proved that the best way to store fresh strawberries to make them last longer was to place unwashed strawberries in a glass storage container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate them.What type of container should I store strawberries in? ›
One week: Mason Jar
This is the easiest option to store strawberries. Just remove unwashed strawberries from their original packaging and place them into a Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Be sure to remove any strawberries with visible damage or mold. Wash and hull when ready to use.
Unlike organic mulches, which encourage the proliferation of snails, sowbugs and earwigs -- all pests that feed on strawberries -- black plastic sheeting provides all the benefits of mulch in addition to superior weed control, better insulation and increased longevity.Is it safe to store strawberries in mason jars? ›
You can store strawberries whole, cut in half, or sliced when stored in mason jars. Once your strawberries are washed, cut, and dried, it is time to put them in their glass jar home for the fridge! I like to use a large 64oz mason jar when storing strawberries since we eat a lot of them.How do you clean and store fresh strawberries? ›
Strawberry Cleaning: Remove Pesticides and Bugs
Soak strawberries for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse berries in plain water. Lay out berries to dry on paper towels or towels for at least 20 minutes, they need to be totally dry. Store the berries in the refrigerator in an open, well ventilated container.
They can be grown in containers as small as 10 to 12 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep. However, the smaller the container, the more frequently you will need to water. If you want to grow June-bearing strawberries, it's best to plant them in a wood-framed raised bed rather than a pot.Should I wash my strawberries with warm or cold water? ›
The best way to clean strawberries is under the sink faucet, whether in a colander or in your hands, running cold tap water over them gently for 10 to 20 seconds. According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), cold water removes anywhere from 75 to 80 percent of pesticide residue from produce.Should you store strawberries covered or uncovered? ›
Place your unwashed strawberries on top in a single layer, then cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, ideally within seven days. If you notice one of the strawberries going bad or turning moldy, immediately remove it and discard.Should you wash strawberries before eating? ›
Whether you've bought fresh, organic strawberries from a farmer's market or strawberries from the grocery store, you should always wash strawberries before snacking on them or cooking with them.