Mad About Berries

How To Store Strawberries To Keep Them Fresh

The quality and taste of the strawberries will be best when they are used as soon as possible after picking.

If you're picking your own strawberries, this might mean planning to use them in your meals as soon as possible or preservation (freezing, jamming) shortly after your harvest. But strawberries may also be stored refrigerated for up to 5-7 days in ideal conditions.

Published: June 28, 2023.

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Strawberries should ideally be picked when they are fully ripe for the best flavor and nutritional content. However, their shelf life begins to decrease as soon as they are picked.

Here are some tips on when to pick strawberries to make them last as long as possible:

  • Pick them in the morning: Strawberries are the coolest in the early morning, which can help them stay fresh longer. Picking them in the heat of the day can cause them to soften more quickly.
  • Pick fully ripe strawberries: Strawberries should be uniformly red, without any white or green spots. Unlike some other fruits, strawberries do not continue to ripen after they're picked.

picking strawberries

  • Don't hull them: If possible, keep the green tops (hulls) on until just before you eat them. Removing the tops can cause the strawberries to spoil faster.
  • Handle with care: Strawberries are very delicate. Handle them gently to prevent bruising, which can make them spoil faster. Don't pile too many on top of each other when picking or storing.
  • Don't wash them right away: Water can cause strawberries to spoil faster since the water may promote mold growth. It's best to wash strawberries just before you eat or use them.
  • Check for mold: Check your strawberries for any signs of mold, as one moldy strawberry can cause the rest to spoil more quickly. If you notice any moldy or spoiled strawberries, remove them immediately.
  • Store in the refrigerator: Keep your strawberries in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. This can help maintain the humidity level which strawberries need. If possible, cool your strawberries quickly after picking them. This slows down the rate at which they spoil.
  • Use a breathable container: If you're not going to consume the strawberries within a day or two, store them in a breathable container, like a paper bag or a container that's not completely sealed. Alternatively, you can use a plastic container with a few holes poked in it to allow some air to circulate. This helps to prevent moisture from building up, which can cause the strawberries to spoil.
  • Layer with paper towels: If you have a lot of strawberries, you can store them in a large container with layers of paper towels in between. The paper towels can absorb any extra moisture and help keep the strawberries fresh. If required, check paper towels every day or two, and if required, replace them. Also, check strawberries, and if required, remove the ones that are bad. Note: if possible, store strawberries in one layer only.
  • Use within a week: Even under ideal conditions, fresh strawberries generally don't last longer than a week in the refrigerator. If you can't use them within a week, consider freezing your strawberries for later use.

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Remember, even with these precautions, strawberries are a perishable fruit and are best consumed within a week of picking up.

If you don't think you'll be able to eat your strawberries in that timeframe, consider processing them into jams or freezing them for later use.



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