Strawberries are in season only a couple of months out of the year, but when they are, they are cheap and plentiful. And if you find a good deal on them at the farmer’s market or one of those strawberry stands, it’s easy to buy too much.
If you brought home twice as many strawberries as you can eat in a couple of days, you need to come up with a plan. Strawberries spoil quickly, so your plan should include how you’ll store and eat them so they don’t go to waste.
In this article, we cover the storage, shelf life, and spoilage of strawberries. If you want to learn more about any of these topics, keep reading.
How to store strawberries
When choosing strawberries, look for ones that are uniformly red, fairly firm to the touch and free of mold. If possible, ask to try one of the group to make sure it tastes good (ie. sweet).
Once you get home, there are a few things to remember about strawberries:
- Beware of moldy ones. Mold quickly spreads between fruits, so it is worth going over the bunch and getting rid of spoiled ones. Repeat the process every day for best results, just like you do with blackberries.
- Leave the berries as they are for as long as possible. It can be tempting to prepare them all by washing and removing the stems, but it’s a good idea only if you plan to eat them all on the same day. Otherwise, leave them unwashed and with stems on to extend their shelf life.
- Make sure they don’t get crushed. Wherever you put them, make sure nothing is putting pressure on them. Strawberries are easily punctured and squeezed, so you have to be careful.
When it comes to where you should keep strawberries, it all depends on when you plan to eat them.
If you plan to eat them right away or the same day you bought them, keeping them on the counter is fine (as is for cherries). If they’re supposed to preserve quality until tomorrow, or even a couple of days after, the fridge is the way to go. Strawberries are not sensitive to low temperatures (CFSI), so there are no drawbacks in keeping them there.
The crisper drawer is the best place to store strawberries. If they come in a plastic bag, carefully transfer them to a plastic container, possibly lined with paper towels to absorb moisture, so they don’t get crushed by other vegetables in there.
If you need to keep strawberries for more than a few days, freeze them.
how to freeze strawberries
You have probably bought frozen strawberries more than once, so you know that they can be successfully frozen. The whole process is quite simple. Is that how it works:
- Homework. Remove the stems, wash them and let them dry well. Use paper towels to remove any water that is still on the surface. Then cut them in half or slice if you like, though whole strawberries are perfectly fine too.
- Instant freezing. Take a baking sheet and arrange the berries in a single layer so that they do not touch each other. Put the baking sheet in the freezer and leave it there until everything is completely frozen. I usually leave it in the freezer overnight.
- Transfer the frozen strawberries to a freezer-safe container or bag. The additional layer will help protect the fruit from the temperature. Also, using a freezer bag is much more convenient than keeping the baking sheet in the freezer at all times.
That is. The entire process takes just a couple of minutes, so there are no excuses not to do it.
How long do strawberries last?
Strawberries last about a day at room temperature. As I already mentioned, if you want to eat them tomorrow, it’s much better to refrigerate them. Many of them will spend the night on the counter, but some will not, especially if the temperature is quite high.
When you store strawberries in the fridge, they keep up to 7 days (CFSI). If you need more time, freezing is the way to go.
The shelf life of strawberries in the refrigerator depends on many circumstances, such as their quality, how full the container is, if there are any bad ones, etc. Most of the time, some of the fruits spoil much earlier. That is why it is important to check them every day and discard the moldy and crushed ones.
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How to know if strawberries are bad?
Discard strawberries that are:
- Moldy. Any sign of white or gray mold means that the sample is spoiled.
- Bruised, soft or soft. Soft strawberries are past their prime and are usually not as flavorful.
- losing colour. If they are losing color, they are stored for quite some time and are probably best thrown away.
- Out of smell. An unpleasant or “funny” smell is a sure sign that the fruit is ready.
In addition to the guidelines above, use common sense. If a sample is only slightly pierced, it’s probably perfectly fine to eat. The same if the strawberry has some green spots because it was picked early.