How to Store Berries for Peak Freshness

Keep strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries from going bad with these tips.

Now that spring has arrived, we can start getting excited about the abundance of warm-weather produce to come. First on the list and in season are fresh berries. We love them alongside cakes, in cobblers, in shortcakes and pies, blended in smoothies, scattered atop pancakes and yogurt toast, and even folded into an omelet. Once you stock up on plump blueberries, raspberries, and juicy strawberries at the farmers’ market, you’ll probably wonder how to store berries so that they stay fresh for days. For starters, try to shop locally. “Local grown products will last longer because the time in transit is included in the countdown. This is why we prioritize local in our sourcing when we can because it maximizes flavor and freshness,” says Matthew Rendine, director of merchandising for Baldor Specialty Foods.

No matter how you source your berries, we have a few smart tips to help preserve their flavor and texture. Here’s how to wash and store berries to keep them from prematurely developing mold or squishy, rotten spots.

How to Store Berries for Peak Freshness

Matt Taylor-Gross

How to wash berries

Before you place a pint of fresh berries in the refrigerator, you need to wash them. Rendine recommends washing them with a solution of one part white vinegar to three parts cool water. While water alone works fine, the addition of vinegar will help to delay decay and destroy any existing mold or bacteria. Soak the berries in the solution until they’re thoroughly cleaned and immediately dry them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. “For all berries, ensure that they are fully dry before refrigerating as water and dampness can create bacteria and mold,” adds Rendine.

How to store fresh berries

Once they’re washed and dried, fresh berries should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between 34℉ and 38℉. Pick out and discard any that are already squished or have moldy spots. “Try and store them in containers that are shallow versus deep,” says Rendine, as the berries will be less likely to bruise each other if they’re not squeezed together. Lining the container with paper towels helps ensure the berries aren't sitting in water.

How long do berries last?

On average, fresh berries will last approximately five days if stored properly, but the shelf life varies based on the variety. Blueberries tend to have the longest shelf life and are the heartiest of the bush berries, Rendine notes. “Blackberries and raspberries can last around five to seven days, but are typically the softest berries of the category,” he adds. On the other hand, strawberries are the most delicate and easy to bruise, which can cause decay and mold to develop within just a few days. 

How to freeze fresh berries

Want to extend their shelf life for months to come? Freeze fresh berries using an airtight, freezer-safe plastic bag. Pluck off any stems or leaves and lay them flat in a single layer to prevent clumping. A few hours later, they’ll be frozen. From here, you can either leave them in the bag or transfer them to a different airtight container. Frozen berries are safe to consume for up to one year after the purchase date; we love using them to make this syrup. Pro tip: Label the bag or container with the purchase date so you never have to guess whether or not they’re still good. 

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