Learn How to Wash Berries the right way so that they last longer in the fridge and freezer. Includes plenty of tips on how to buy, store, wash, clean and freeze.
This post is sponsored by California Giant Berry Farms. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Fit Mitten Kitchen bring you new recipes!
How to Shop for Berries
When you are picking up a clamshell at the grocery store, there are a few key details to look out for when purchasing the very best berries. While there are specifics to each individual berry, generally speaking – as in, covering the aspects of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries – you want to look for:
- Brightly colored berries even in color (avoid darkened / dull / discolored berries)
- Firm and plump appearance
- Soft, glossy sheen (strawberries should have fresh green tops)
- No signs of bruising, mold, crushed or mushy berries
- The contents are dry, with no evidence of leaking juice (pay special attention to the absorbent pad for raspberries and blackberries)
Fun Fact: Berries do not ripen after being picked, so make sure to pick a bunch that are ripe and juicy! For blueberries, look out for that special dusty, powdery layer – called bloom – which is the blueberries natural protection against the sun. This means the berries have been picked in nice, dry conditions, which means a longer shelf life for your baby blues.
How to Store Berries
As soon as you get home from the store, follow these storage steps:
- Inspect the berries once more for any bruised, broken or decaying berries and discard.
- Keep the berries dry until ready to use / serve.
- Place a folded paper towel in the lid and flip the container upside-down.
- Refrigerate in the very same clamshell the berries were packaged in. The perforations in the clamshells are actually designed that way for proper air flow.
If you prefer to eat your berries at room temperature, simply remove them from the fridge 30 minutes – 1 hour before enjoying. And give them a quick rinse – which we will talk about next!
How to Wash Berries
Contrary to popular belief, berries are actually best kept unwashed until you are ready to enjoy. The excess moisture from washing berries too soon can promote early mold and decay.
If you are looking for the best way to wash berries, you have come to the right place. Keep reading to learn how to keep your berries fresh for days to weeks in the fridge:
Cool Running Water
Follow along the California Giant way and give those berries a quick rinse under cool running water in the same perforated container.
This is the fastest method without having to use any extra equipment or ingredients. I do this when I am in a pinch or just want a handful of fresh berries, stat.
In a Colander
While I love the fast and easy approach of just regular ol’ tap water, the pressure from the water can sometime smoosh or bruise more delicate berries like raspberries or blackberries. To avoid this, follow these steps:
- Fill a large bowl with cold water.
- Place the berries in a colander small enough to fit inside the bowl and dip it in the water bath. Give it a good little nudge to get an even wash on all the berries.
- Remove and allow the excess water to drip out.
- Transfer the clean berries to a paper towel or kitchen towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Store in a paper towel lined airtight container in the fridge.
Rinsing Berries in Vinegar
I know we have all heard of the popular fruit vinegar wash. This went viral with strawberries by stating that washing berries and vinegar promotes an even deeper clean, preventing mold and prolonging the shelf life.
The viral hack states to create a 3:1 mixture of water-to-distilled white vinegar, then immerse the berries in the solution and let them soak for 5-10 minutes.
But according to CalGiant, it is best to not reach for the vinegar! Soaking berries in a vinegar solution runs the risk of altering the flavor of the berry, while also increasing the chance of mold and a shortened shelf life due to the added moisture.
If you prefer to use vinegar, I recommend sticking to the same 3:1 ratio, but simply avoid soaking the berries and give them a quick dip following the same steps as the colander method above.
How Long Will Berries Last
Berries will last for a few days to a few weeks depending on the type of berry. If refrigerated and kept dry, the shelf life for each berry is as follows:
- Raspberries: 1-3 days
- Blackberries: 3-5 days
- Strawberries: 3-5 days
- Blueberries: 2 weeks
Can You Freeze Berries?
Freezing berries is a wonderful way to have fresh produce on hand at all times. I love to freeze berries when they are in their peak of ripeness during the spring and summer months, that way I can enjoy their juicy goodness throughout the fall and winter seasons. To freeze berries, simply:
- Wash them with cool water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels until all excess water has been absorbed (for strawberries, slice off the leafy green calyx).
- Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper (make sure to position strawberries cut side down), arranging them so that they are not touching (this helps to prevent clumping).
- Freeze for 24 hours.
- Transfer to a freezer-bag or freezer-safe airtight container, label, date and store in the freezer. Frozen berries will keep for 3-5 months!
The Berry Best Tips:
- Keep dry: Avoid washing the berries until you are ready to enjoy or use in your recipe.
- Remove leaking and / or decaying berries: This prevents bacteria and mold from spreading to the other berries.
- Flip it over: Place a folded paper towel in the lid of the perforated container and store the container upside-down.
- Store in the fridge: If you are not planning on eating your berries right away, keep them in the fridge. Warm air speeds up the decaying process, shortening the shelf life even more.
- Washing without vinegar: For best results, use plain tap water following one of the methods above and avoid washing fruit with vinegar.
Easy Berry Recipes You’ll Love
Celebrate the antioxidant-rich berries in any one of these delicious recipes: