Much like summer itself, perfectly ripe berries are here and gone before you know it. The fragile little fruits do not come cheap and they often turn into a congealed moldy mess before you have a chance to finish them. Because of their delicate, moist skin, berries are magnets for microscopic mold spores and bacteria. Save yourself the money and disappointment and try these five tips for making those berries last.
1. It may seem obvious, but…
Immediately toss any moldy or mushy berries when you see them. Mold is clever and spreads fast, so throw away or compost the moldy fruit before the bacteria takes down the whole bunch.
2. Vinegar Bath
This useful tip from America’s Test Kitchen says that washing your delicate berries in a bath of water and vinegar (3:1 ratio) will double or triple their fridge life. The vinegar in the solution will kill any bacteria or mold spores that might be living on the surface of the fruit. Just be sure to rinse your berries under running water afterwards to remove the vinegar taste.
3. Make sure those suckers are dry!
After rinsing your berries, be sure that they are dry. The best way to do this is line the same salad spinner you use for your greens with paper towels and give your berries a few turns. If your berries still feel damp, spread them out to dry in a single layer on a few sheets of paper towels.
4. Let your berries breathe
Before moving the berries to the fridge, pick the right container. Vented colanders like this one or tupperware with the lid placed askew are ideal for storage. Line the bottom with paper towels and make sure that there is air circulation. Any trapped moisture equals mold, which equals :( .
5. Try one of these gadgets
If you’re still not feeling confident in your new berry caretaking skills, we suggest one of these F&W Test Kitchen-approved pieces of equipment:
The BerryBreeze is a small battery-powered gadget that lives in your fridge and emits activated oxygen that neutralizes the microbes and bacteria that make produce decay quickly. Bonus: it will get rid of any funky fridge smells overnight. $49.98, berrybreeze.com
The GreenSaver Produce Keeper from Oxo is highly ventilated and ideal for storing delicate foods like berries and lettuces. The container also has a small (non-toxic) carbon filter that absorbs any of the natural gases from produce that cause them to over-ripen and spoil. From $14.99, oxo.com