By Laura Fisher
Updated: July 08, 2019
Foodcollection RF / Cavan Images

Let's get those ripe ruby reds ready to eat!

Is there anything more quintessentially summer than a basket of fresh-picked strawberries? Before you bite into one of these juicy morsels, however, you’ll want to make sure that you’re properly cleaning off your fruit to ensure you and your family don’t consume any unnecessary grime, bugs, or chemicals before baking into a luscious strawberry shortcake or combining with rhubarb for the perfect pie.

The one time to forgo food prep

First and foremost, don’t wash your strawberries until you’re ready to cook with or eat them. Strawberries have a sponge-like quality that causes them to suck up as much moisture as possible, meaning that if you wash your berries in advance and then store them, they will go bad much more quickly.

RELATED: 13 Sweet Strawberry Recipes That Taste Like Summertime

Keep it simple

If you are buying organic berries from a farmer’s market or another local source, you only need to rinse them in cool water before laying out on a dish towel or paper towel to dry. Then, you’re ready to slice, bake, or pop into your mouth.

Get squeaky clean with a vinegar wash

If you’re buying your strawberries from the grocery store, and especially if they’ve been grown conventionally using pesticides, you will want to take a few more steps before consumption. Strawberries are one of the most highly sprayed conventional crops out there, and you want to minimize the amount of pesticides you and your family are consuming. Additionally, the journey from big farm to grocery store shelf is a long one and your berries have been handled by many different people and exposed to different conditions. Needless to say, it’s worth a few extra moments to make sure your fruit is clean as can be.

To get extra grime and chemicals off your berries, fill a large bowl with four parts water to one part white vinegar. Place the berries in the bowl so that they are completely submerged with the vinegar wash, and soak for 20 minutes. Rinse the fruit thoroughly under cool water and pat dry with cloth or paper towels. Don’t worry, there won’t be a hint of vinegar left behind - just the sweet and perfectly tangy taste of summertime.

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