Strawberries are one of the most popular of the berry family, with their sweet, juicy flavor and variety of uses. They’re also packed full of antioxidants and Vitamin C, a huge immune system booster.
If you’re going strawberry-picking or even plan to grow your own this year, you’ll need to know how to store them properly because you will likely get a lot. After all freshly picked is always better than store-bought.
Since they’re already a pretty juicy fruit, they’re prone to decomposing quicker due to moisture and are even more susceptible to mold. So, when you do store strawberries, you’ll need to remember that they do much better in a dry, cold area.
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How To Properly Store Strawberries
The key to storing strawberries is to keep them in a cool and dry place and to keep them spaced out a little. If you’re going to be using your strawberries the same day, you are alright to keep them right on the counter. Otherwise, strawberries are annoyingly infamous for being quick to go soft or moldy.
Storing Strawberries In The Fridge:
Normally, you would buy strawberries in a plastic container. Unfortunately, this is a bad way to store strawberries, so it’s best to take them out as soon as you can. But, there is a solution. If you replace them in a different container using this method, you’ll be able to store strawberries for a little longer.
After you take the strawberries out of their original container, leave them unwashed and dry. Leave the tops on your strawberries, as the tops can actually prolong their shelf-life. Next, lay them in a baking dish that has been lined with a few layers of paper towel.
Place them in one single layer, instead of smashed together in a box. This is the key to preventing the whole bunch from going bad if one starts early. Then, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Storing Strawberries In The Freezer:
To store strawberries in your fridge, you will need to wash, slice, and thoroughly dry them first. The most important part is to make sure that your strawberries are dry before freezing, to avoid freezer burnt strawberries.
Since mold isn’t a problem at freezer temperatures, you can bunch strawberries together to store them in the freezer instead of storing them in a single layer. You can take them out when you need to or proportion them for desserts or smoothie blends.
In the freezer, you can store strawberries for up to 3 months without worrying about spoiling or freezer burn. After that time is up, you may need to use them right away, or they will lose their flavor.
Storing Strawberries By Drying Them:
Like many other fruits, you can store strawberries for an extended amount of time by drying or dehydrating them. Storying strawberries will help you preserve them for more than a year with full flavor! It’s not as hard as it may seem; all you need is your oven and some parchment paper.
Here are the steps to storing strawberries through dehydration:
- Wash and fully dry your strawberries.
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the stems and slice the strawberries.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place all of the strawberries in one even layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 3 hours to fully dehydrate the strawberries.
- Let them cool completely and place them in a plastic storage container or Ziploc bag.
Drying the strawberries in the oven also helps to accentuate the sugary taste that can make a great mock-candy for healthy eating. And, if you have leftovers, you can use the dried fruit to germinate and grow a whole strawberry patch of your own, as a bonus.
How Long Can Strawberries Be Stored?
As mentioned, strawberries aren’t known for keeping for very long. Strawberries can last for a week when stored in the fridge. When they’re in a single layer, they can be stretched for an extra day or two, but not longer.
Strawberries are very moist on their own and if they aren’t stored properly, they will grow mold from the inside. And once one goes, the others are quick to follow.
In the freezer, stored strawberries will only last a few months. However, vacuum sealing may also help to prolong their life in the freezer or when dried. It helps to get extra-firm and under-ripe strawberries so that they will be perfect once you’re ready to eat them.
How To Tell If Strawberries Have Gone Bad
There are a few clear signs that your stored strawberries are starting to go bad, such as those mushy spots and event mold. If strawberries aren’t stored properly, you’ll probably be spotting some signs of decomposition sooner than you’d like.
- Darker red color
- Mushy texture
- Sprouting mold
- Soft “spots” that have turned before the whole berry.
If one of the strawberries is turning quicker than the others, remove it immediately. One bad strawberry will ruin the whole batch, through mold spores and the spreading of bacteria. This is the most important reason why you shouldn’t be bunching strawberries up in a box.
Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Strawberries
When you’re storing strawberries, you have to be careful to follow all of the necessary steps to doing it correctly. It may seem tedious or like too many steps, but it really does help your strawberries go further.
Be careful not to make the following mistakes when storing strawberries:
- Washing your strawberries before storing them.
- Storing strawberries in a container with no airflow
- Cutting off the tops or stems of strawberries before storing them in the fridge.
- Storing strawberries in a small container, all squished together or stacked under heavier food.
Remember that strawberries spoil quickly when stored improperly or if any of the above mistakes happen. When you perform all the necessary steps to your chosen method of storing strawberries, you can easily avoid all of these mistakes.