How to Store Strawberries

Fresh picked strawberries bring the feeling of summer and sunshine. They are juicy and sweet and taste delicious. You can use them in many dishes. There are many ways to store strawberries, but you must do so carefully. Find out how so you can eat them all year long.

Ripe strawberries stored in plastic containers on display.

Strawberries and summer go perfectly together. Strawberries are bursting with flavor and color. They are simply delicious and are so versatile. They do tend to go bad quickly if not cared for properly. I love the taste of a fresh strawberry.

Just like summer, we want the strawberry season to last as long as possible. For the rare occasion, you do not eat all your strawberries in one sitting, there are some great methods for storing strawberries to get the maximum life out of them. Check out this article to find out how to store strawberries.

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Tips and Tricks

Before you consider storing your strawberries, there are some tips you should know to help you get the most life out of your strawberries. If you pay attention to these steps, you can use the strawberries in any recipe. Before you do anything else, read through each kitchen tip to handle strawberries properly.

Tip #1 – Do Not Pre-Wash

Strawberries are little red sponges and soak up any moisture they can. This allows mold to grow quickly. Any excess moisture in the strawberry also causes it to get soft quickly. Strawberries are freshest and happiest when they are cold and dry.

Tip #2 – Wash Them Only To Eat

Ripe strawberries on a strainer being washed.

The first thing you might want to consider is washing strawberries as soon as you bring them home. They are sensitive fruit. Do not wash the strawberries when you bring them home. It is best to wait until you plan to eat or use them. If you do wash them before you plan to eat them dry them completely in a salad spinner.

Tip #3 – It Only Takes One Bad Strawberry

It is not just with apples that it only takes one to spoil the whole bunch. If one strawberry is bad or moldy, and you do not remove it, the rest of the strawberries will quickly go bad. Check the strawberries and remove the bad ones or any moldy berry.

Tip #4 – Leave On the Stems

A close look at a bunch of ripe strawberries.

It may seem silly but leaving the stems on your strawberries can make a big difference in how long they will last. Leaving the stems on the berries will protect

Tip #5 – Store in a Single Layer

Strawberries should be stored in a single layer because they last longer when they are not crushed by layers of strawberries on top of them.

Many Ways to Store Strawberries

Leave on Counter

A bunch of ripe strawberries on a wooden countertop.

If you plan to eat the strawberries right away, as in the next day or two, you can leave them out on your countertop. You can leave them at room temperature in the original container. You should do a quick check to make sure there are no bad or wet strawberries.

Refrigerated Strawberries

A bunch of strawberries about to be placed inside the fridge.

You can use a baking sheet, cookie sheet, shallow container, or glass bowl and line it with paper towels, or a kitchen towel that is clean. Remember that you do not want to wash your strawberries. You want to make sure they stay dry. You also want to make sure that none of the strawberries are going bad.

If they are, throw them away. Place the unwashed strawberries in a single layer on the paper towels. You can cover the strawberries with a lid or plastic wrap. Then store the container in the fridge. These strawberries should last about a week. Do not let them stay in the refrigerator much longer than that because they will start to go bad.

Vinegar Bath

A bowl of berries undergoing vinegar bath.

If you have some extra time, or if you have strawberries that are on the edge of becoming bad, you can put them in a vinegar bath. This vinegar-water solution is an ideal way to extend the life of strawberries. You want to add 1 1/2 cups of water with 1/4 cups of white vinegar in a glass bowl. You want to soak the strawberries in this solution for 5 minutes. Rinse these strawberries in cold water.

Put the strawberries on a paper towel and dry them completely. Even though you have put the strawberries in a vinegar wash, you should still dry them thoroughly. Line a container with paper towels and a cover. Do not cover completely. You want to leave a crack with the lid. Store the container in the refrigerator.

Frozen Strawberries

A woman taking out frozen strawberries out of the freezer.

If you are not going to eat your strawberries in the next week, and you want to store them a little longer, you can consider freezing strawberries to keep them longer. If you plan to freeze your strawberries, you should remove the stems. You want to cut the strawberries in quarters or slice them thinly.

Place the strawberries in a single layer on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Place the entire baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Once the strawberries are frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag that is resealable. You can store them in a freezer container for up to three months in this frozen state.

When you are ready to eat or use them, a frozen strawberry is so versatile. You can thaw the frozen berries and eat them any time. You can use the strawberries while still frozen in smoothies or some other frozen drink.

Add Sugar

Sliced strawberries being showered with sugar.

If you want to use your strawberries in a dessert, or you want them to be sweet, you can add sugar. Your strawberries can last close to a year with this process. You want to be sure to taste the strawberries before you freeze them to make sure it has the perfect amount of sweetness.

You do not want them to be too sweet. You should start with about 1/4 cup of sugar to 10 ounces of strawberries. That should provide the right amount of sweetness.

Place your strawberries in a pot and then rinse them with cool water. Remove the stems of the strawberries and then cut them in half. Once that is complete, put the strawberries back in the pot. Pour your sugar over the strawberries and mix them gently. You do not want your strawberries to get mushy.

Dump out any excess water that has collected. Taste your strawberries to make sure it is the right amount of sugar. Put your strawberries in an airtight container that is freezer safe and store them in your freezer.

Freeze Dried Strawberries

A close look at freeze dried strawberries.

Freeze drying strawberries is a great way to create a delicious snack. The water is pulled out of the strawberry to keep it from spoiling. This also reduces the overall weight of the strawberry. You can eat them right away or vacuum seal them to store them.

Once you wash and dry the strawberries, you should cut off the stems and then vertically slice your strawberries. You can use a freeze drier or your own oven to freeze dry your strawberries. If you are using a freeze drier, line strawberries in a single layer and then follow the instructions on the machine.

If you use your oven, it will not freeze the strawberries but will dry them. You want to mix about two tablespoons of sugar with your strawberries. Let them soak for 30 minutes to let the sugar soak in. Put the strawberries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 185 degrees for 3 hours. You will have to rotate the baking sheet every 30 minutes.

Dehydrated Strawberries

A bunch of sliced strawberries about to be dehydrated.

Dehydrating strawberries is different from freeze-drying them. When you dehydrate them, you are creating crunchy snacks for later. When they are dehydrated, you can store them for months. You must clean and hull your strawberries. You should cut your strawberries in slices that are 1/8 to 1/4 inches. You want to make sure the strawberries are about the same thickness, so they dry properly.

Place the strawberries in a dehydrator spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. They have to dehydrate for 8 to 14 hours. Dehydrate them longer to create crisper strawberries. Once they have dehydrated, let them cool for 30 minutes. After they have cooled, break one in half to make sure there is no moisture. You can store the strawberries in a plastic container. If there is any moisture, or you see condensation in the container, you should put the sliced strawberries back in the dehydrator for a couple more hours.

Canned Strawberries

A close look at a couple of home made canned strawberries.

Canning strawberries is a great way to preserve them. Canning strawberries in water is not the best idea because the sugar is pulled out of the strawberries and into the water. This means that all the flavor leaves your strawberries and is in the water.

For every 2 pounds of strawberries, add 1/4 cup of water to a pot and bring them both to a simmer. Cook the berries for just a few minutes until they have released enough juice. Now, they are ready to be placed in the canning jars or any glass jar. These strawberries will be softer and may lose their shape since no additional sugar was added.

Strawberry Leather

A few rolls of strawberry leather.

Strawberry leather is often referred to as a fruit roll-up, and it is a dried fruit snack that is popular and fun to eat. You must puree the strawberries, cook, dry, roll, and cut them to create strawberry leather. This can be a healthy snack option. Strawberries do not have a lot of pectins, so they may end up brittle on their own.

You need to add applesauce to make the leather that is the right texture. You can puree the entire strawberry, including the top of it. You need a quality blender to puree it. Once it is pureed, you want to measure it because you need to add an equal amount of applesauce. If you have one cup of puree, you will need to add one cup of applesauce.

Then you can spread the mixture on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Make sure you spread the mixture evenly with a thickness of 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch. This mixture takes six to seven hours to dry in the oven at a temperature of 170 degrees.

The leather gets darker as the moisture is pulled from it, and it dries. Do not let it dry longer than eight hours. Once it is dry, let it sit at room temperature for close to six hours. This will help it soften.

FAQs

Can I Eat the Tops (Stems) of Strawberries?

Yes, believe it or not, you can eat the entire strawberry. The tops of strawberries are safe for human consumption. They are high in minerals and vitamins, including ellagic acid. This is known to help prevent cancer. If you are completely blending the strawberry, you can leave the tops on.

Do I Have to Vacuum Seal My Frozen Strawberries?

No, you do not have to vacuum seal them. You can leave them frozen without doing anything else to them. The quality of the strawberry may be better if you freeze dry them. When they are vacuum-sealed, they can last for over a year. You will see no ice crystals and little change to the way the strawberry looks.

How Long Will Strawberries Last When They Are Not Refrigerated?

You can leave strawberries out for a day or two before they go bad. Once you cut the strawberries, you should eat them within two hours. If they are left out for longer than two hours and cut, you should throw them away.

What Can I Do to Make Strawberries Last Longer in the Refrigerator?

You can use a vinegar and water bath to help preserve strawberries for a longer amount of time in your refrigerator. Not only will the bath help to preserve the strawberries, but it will also help to remove grime and dirt. It also kills bacteria.

What Are Signs That I Should Not Eat a Strawberry?

If the strawberry is discolored, or the skin of the strawberry is beginning to peel off, you should not eat it. You want your strawberry to be firm and bright. A strawberry should have a sweet smell. It should not be discolored or wrinkly. If it is, you want to use it immediately or throw it away. If there is visible mold on the strawberry, you should throw it away.

If I Cut Strawberries, How Long Will They Last?

Once you cut strawberries, you should eat them right away, or within the next two hours, if you are leaving them at room temperature. If you cut the strawberries and put them in the refrigerator, they should last about three to four days. Just because they are in the refrigerator does not mean they will last for an extended amount of time. You still need to eat them or use them promptly.

When Are Strawberries in Season?

It depends on the location in which the strawberries are grown. The national season for strawberries is January through November. In the South, strawberries are harvested between the end of April and May. If you are in the middle of the country, the best season for strawberries is May and June.

What is the Sweetest Type of Strawberry?

There are over 600 varieties of strawberry, but there are only about five to six original species. Strawberry is actually a member of the rose family. There is often a drastic difference between the taste, color, and shape of the different varieties. Often, the larger the strawberry means the juicier it is. The smaller the strawberry is then the more intense the flavor is going to be.

Albion strawberries have a dark color on the inside and outside of the strawberry. They have the most consistent flavor of all strawberries. They have a high sugar content that makes it perfect for dessert and eating one by one.

Are Strawberries Expensive?

You can expect that the average cost of an organic strawberry is about $3.22 per pound. The average cost of a non-organic strawberry is $2.22 per pound. That means you are paying about $1.00 more per pound for a premium organic strawberry. These costs will be dependent on the time of year and how plentiful the crop is in any given year.

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