For some strange reason, every time I think of strawberries my mind goes straight to those cheesy scenes in movies where the couple is feeding each other chocolate-covered strawberries. You know those cheesy clips, right?
Unfortunately for us, when it comes to strawberries, they tend to go bad really fast. This suggests that when you go to the store, supermarket, or even the farmers market before you buy a whole crate of these sumptuous berries you need to have a solid plan in place.
A plan with regard to how you are going to utilize them (this is in terms of eating them directly or using them in recipes) and how you are going to store any surplus for future use.
How Long Do Strawberries Last?
Since strawberries have the tendency to go bad so fast, when left on the kitchen counter at room temperature, they most likely will not even last the night (bummer, I know). However, if you intend or want to keep them longer for future use, your next best option is to refrigerate the strawberries.
If this does not offer you the longevity you want for your strawberries, freezing the strawberries is also an option you can consider.
Strawberries go bad very fast. For you to keep them fresh and delicious, you need to store them well. They should not be washed until you are right about to eat them and never left in the kitchen unless being used immediately.
Generally speaking, if you have a fresh unopened packet of whole strawberries, they can last left on the counter for between one and two days, if stored in the refrigerator, they can last between five and seven days and between six to eight months if stored away properly in the freezer.
When it comes to a freshly opened packet of cut strawberries, they last for only one day when left on the counter. While in the freezer they can last up to three days and can last between three and four months if also properly stored in the freezer.
How to Store Strawberries.
When it comes to storing the strawberries, there are three rules that should be carefully considered. They are with regard to when to wash the strawberries when to remove the stems and not letting one bad berry ruin the whole bunch.
These berries should be stored directly from the store. Just transfer them into a resealable air-tight container to keep out moisture and other contaminants, this will keep them fresh well beyond any other storage method.
- Rule one on washing is to not wash them immediately you get them home from the store or farmers market or even the garden. Strawberries should only be washed right before eating them. This is due to the fact that strawberries are like loofahs, once wet, they soak up every drop of moisture surrounding them, this characteristic makes them more susceptible to getting mushy and get spoiled faster.
- Also, if we’ve learned anything it is that mold just needs the slightest bit of water to grow, this makes strawberries more likely to get moldy.
- Rule two advises leaving the stem in the strawberries also until you are about to eat them. Keeping the stems on for this long will go a long way in prolonging their shelf life.
- Rule three is quite simple really. If you happen to notice any moldy berries in the container they are stored in, remove the moldy berries immediately. It is a no-brainer that mold spreads easily, so it is wise to remove the spoiled berries before the mold spreads and ruins the rest of the bunch.
There are a few other ways in which you can store your strawberries to ensure that they are of optimum quality and safe to consume.
- For starters, you could leave the strawberries in their original packaging or transfer them into a bowl and leave them out on the countertop. Keep in mind that this is only good for two days.
- Next, you could place the strawberries in a vinegar bath. This is achieved by mixing one and a half cups of water with a quarter of a cup of vinegar in a glass container. You then soak the strawberries in this mix for about five minutes or so.
- After that, you rinse the strawberries with cool water and use kitchen towels to soak up any remaining water. Finally, use more kitchen towels to line the container you are storing them in, place the strawberries in the container, and place the container in the refrigerator.
Another simple method is to freeze the strawberries in some sugar. Simply measure out a quarter cup of sugar for every two hundred and eighty grams of strawberries.
Rinse the strawberries with cool water and remove the stems. Cut the strawberries and cover them with the sugar and proceed to mix. Place the strawberries in a freezer-safe container that is resealable and place in the freezer.
How to Freeze Strawberries.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you bought a couple more strawberries than you actually needed and you do not want to waste any and are wondering what to do with the excess ones?
Fret not, I’ll take you through how to freeze your strawberries in order to extend their shelf life and keep you happy. The whole process is quite straightforward;
- First, you obviously need to prepare the strawberries; in this step, ensure to remove the stems from the strawberries and proceed to wash them. Once you do this, let them dry thoroughly. You can always use kitchen towels to dry any remaining water that’s still on the surface. After this, you just cut the strawberries however you usually do (whole strawberries are perfectly fine as well).
- The next step is to freeze the strawberries; After prepping the strawberries, take a baking sheet if you have one or even a plate and proceed to lay the berries in a single layer in such a way that they do not touch each other. Then you go ahead and out the baking sheet or plate into the freezer and leave it there until everything is thoroughly frozen.
- Finally, you transfer the frozen strawberries; Once the above step is complete, you take out the baking sheet or plate and transfer the strawberries into a resealable plastic container or Ziploc bag that is freezer friendly. This helps protect the berries from the temperature in the freezer and avoids absorbing more moisture.
Places You Can Store Strawberries.
When it comes to choosing a place to store your strawberries the ultimate thing to be considered is when you intend to use the strawberries.
If you plan to use the strawberries right away, it would be best to store them or lay them on the kitchen countertop. There is no reason to put them in the refrigerator since they can survive at room temperature for a day or two.
If you do not plan to utilize or use the strawberries that very day that you go shopping for them, the best place to keep them is in the refrigerator. This helps the strawberries maintain humidity and keep the strawberries from losing their moisture and consequently becoming dry.
In order to store them this way, remove the strawberries from their original container and store them while they are still whole and unwashed. Partially close the container and ensure that you have lined it with kitchen towels (they help to absorb any excess moisture. This method should keep your strawberries fresh for up to seven days.
Now, if you have no intention whatsoever of using the strawberries within the week or even the month of purchasing them from the store or harvesting them (if you have your own garden), your best bet is keeping them fresh is to freeze the strawberries.
When freezing, remove the stems from the strawberries and cut them (however you normally do) then proceed to freeze them on a plate or baking sheet if you have access to one. Once frozen, store them in an airtight resealable plastic container or a Ziploc bag that is freezer friendly.
How to Tell If Strawberries Are Bad.
Although they are not perfect, your senses are usually, in most cases, the best instruments that you can use to tell whether your strawberries have gone bad or stale. A perfectly ripe strawberry should be bright red in color, firm to the touch, and smell sweet.
The first sign to look out for is the appearance of mold on the strawberries. Any sign of grey or white mold growing on the strawberries and that is a clear indication that the berries are most likely going bad.
Since ideal strawberries ought to be firm, if the strawberries you have with you have any form of bruising, are soft when you touch them, or are mushy, those strawberries are probably way past their prime.
We have mentioned that good strawberries should be bright red in color. If your strawberries are losing color, it is probably better to toss them out.
Last but certainly not least, if you take a whiff from the packaging containing the strawberries and you get a generally off or “funny” smell, this is a sure sign that the berries are bad.