Home Ingredients Fruit How To Store Strawberries – 9 Methods Tested

How To Store Strawberries – 9 Methods Tested

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Lady getting strawberries from fridge

Few pleasures in life beat overindulging on ripe strawberries. Sweet and juicy with an aroma that overloads the olfactory senses.

But if this berry has an Achilles heel, it’s shelf life.

Strawberries pale in comparison to apples, pears, and oranges when it comes to storability, sopping up water like a sponge.

Frustrated at discovering semi-moldy berries in the fridge, we decided to run some tests. Our goal? To reveal the undisputed best way to store strawberries. Let’s take a look at what we discovered from trying 9 different options.

9 methods of storing strawberries

What’s the best way to store strawberries?

Best option: To get the longest life out of your strawberries, our testing found you’re best to soak the fruit in a solution of vinegar and water. The berries need to be dried thoroughly before storing in a ventilated container.

Runner up: Storing strawberries in their original packaging without washing was almost as effective. If you intend to eat the fruit within a few days or you’re short on time, then this option works fine.

1. Original packaging on countertop

Edible berries after one week: 0

Original packaging on countertop

How: This is the easiest method of them all. Simply place the strawberries on the counter, away from sunlight. Keep them in their original packaging and don’t wash the berries until the time comes to eat them.

Be sure to remove any moldy or aged strawberries before you start, or it’ll spread to the other fruit.

Results: Although we knew this method wouldn’t work as well as the others, it was useful to see how long strawberries last on the countertop. In the end, 2 days is what you can expect before they start to lose their quality.

2. Hulled and stored in an airtight container

Edible berries after one week: 0

Hulled and stored in airtight container

How: Wash and hull the strawberries then place them on a towel to dry. As the fruit now has an exposed area that is prone to mold, they need to be stored sealed to prohibit oxygen. Place the berries cut side down in a container or dish on paper towels. Finally, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Results: After 3 days the cut end of the berries turned an unpleasant color. The entire fruit appeared to be losing quality quicker than the uncut strawberries.

Hulling berries in advance isn’t a good idea, but if you’ve got leftovers that are already sliced up, this method will give you extra time to eat them.

3. Refrigerated in an airtight glass jar

Edible berries after one week: 4

Refrigerated in a glass jar

How: This is another super-easy way to store your fruit. Remove the strawberries from their original packaging and place them in a jar unwashed with no paper towels. Seal the lid and refrigerate.

Results: Although some “fruit gurus” claim this will keep your berries fresh for 2 weeks, our berries didn’t have the same luck. By day 5 the fruits on the bottom were spoiling, no doubt from the weight of the others on top.

Next time, we’d be better off using a Pyrex dish with a lid as the fruit can be layered better. Getting the fruit out of the jar is also a hassle, especially if you want that perfect berry that’s at the bottom of the jar!

4. In a colander

Edible berries after one week: 5

Strawberries in a colander

How: Place the unwashed fresh strawberries into a colander and stash them in the fridge uncovered. Simple.

Results: The theory is that strawberries love plenty of air circulation all around and a colander allows for that. But it didn’t pan out well in our tests. Only 50% of the fruit made it to the end of week 1.

The exposed fruit will also take on other flavors from the fridge. If you have onions or other odorous produce nearby, they may taint the fruit.

5. Wash then store on a dry towel with damp towel on top

Edible berries after one week: 6

Strawberries in dish on a dry towel

How: We got this idea from our local strawberry supplier. Gently wash the strawberries in a bowl of water before drying with a tea towel. Store them in a single layer on a dry towel-lined dish, with a damp towel layered over the top.

Results: This option was quite effective at stopping the fruit from going off. 60% of the fruit survived which is a pass in any school!

6. Rinsed and stored in original packaging

Edible berries after one week: 6

How: This is a popular method for storing strawberries as it’s easy and when you want to eat a berry, they’re already pre-washed. The mistake many make is to wash them in their container, give them a few seconds to drip dry, then place them in the fridge. The water will bring on water damage and mold much quicker this way. Instead, wash them in a bowl of water and fully dry with a towel before returning to their original packaging.

Results: Pre-washing the berries is a good storage method if you fully dry the fruit. It’s handy to be able to grab berries and eat them without washing. With 60% of the fruit edible, we were happy with this method.

The problem is that we lead busy lives and most of us probably won’t dry the fruit 100%. This opens the door for spoilage. If you’re going to use a method that involves wetting the fruit, then drying them fully is a must.

7. Unrinsed then stored with damp towel on top

Edible berries after one week: 6

Unrinsed stored with damp towel on top

How: Store them in a single layer on a dry towel-lined dish, with a damp towel layered over the top.

Results: Another 60% success rate shows that unrinsed berries will also store well.

8. Original packaging in refrigerator

Edible berries after one week: 7

Original packaging unwashed

How: Why go to the trouble of washing berries or moving them into another container if they stay just as fresh in their original container? We had to test it out. After all, keeping it simple is often the best way.

Do a quick check of the fruit and remove any aged or damaged berries, then refrigerate the rest in their original packaging.

Results: This method works surprisingly well with 70% of the fruit holding up well over one week. If you lead a busy life, then putting them straight into the fridge isn’t a bad move.

9. Soaked in a vinegar solution

Edible berries after one week: 8

Soaked in a vinegar solution

How: Give the strawberries a short soak in a solution of 3 parts water and one part vinegar. Thoroughly dry before transferring to a paper towel-lined dish and covering with a lid that has an airhole. If you don’t have a suitable cover then use cling wrap and make a few holes to create some airflow.

Results: This was the best way to keep the berries fresh. An 80% freshness rate was impressive. However, we had to wonder if the effort was worth it? Placing the unwashed fruit in the fridge in its original packaging was almost as successful.

5 big takeaways from our tests

  1. Storing strawberries unwashed in their original packaging is perfectly fine, especially if you intend to eat them in the next few days.
  2. For best results, a quick water bath in vinegar and water before drying and refrigerating will help the berries last longer.
  3. Water is the enemy of strawberries, and it will cause rapid spoilage.
  4. If you intend to keep your fruit for over one day, always refrigerate.
  5. Air circulation is important so don’t seal the lid of the container if there are no vents.

How we tested each method

The sample size: 10 strawberries were tested for each method. 90 berries were used in total.

Strawberries in containers

Shortlisting

Initially, we reached out to various strawberry growers and food bloggers on social media to get their options on how to store strawberries. We also looked at what people were saying online. From there, the most popular storage choices were shortlisted for testing.

Testing

Fresh berries were purchased from a local supermarket. They were all prepared and placed in their appropriate containers and refrigerated at the same time. Then the stopwatch started.

Measuring results

Each day, the berries were checked for quality. If any of them showed signs of browning or they weren’t good enough to eat fresh, they were removed and frozen, ready for the next batch of strawberry jam or strawberry ice cream.

After 7 days, we checked how many strawberries were left and recorded the result.

How to store strawberries vertical shot

Summing up

There are loads of storage methods for strawberries. The conclusion that seems clear is this: most storage techniques and hacks aren’t worth wasting your time on. In most cases, get home from shopping and transfer the strawberries straight to the fridge. If you’re not in a hurry, a brief soaking in water and vinegar may yield slightly better results.

Do you have a stack-load of strawberries? You’re probably best to freeze them. Sure, they won’t be suitable for cocktail garnishes or fruit salads, but for most other recipes like baked goods and desserts, they’ll work fine.