Have you ever brought a container of fresh berries home only to have them turn to mush in the next couple of days? I got so tired of that happening — it’s not just a disappointment, it’s a waste of good money.
So, I set out on a quest to learn how to make berries last longer in the fridge. It turns out, everything from which ones you buy to what you keep them can make all the difference.
Look for This
Knowing what to look for in berries is the first step to ensure they last longer once you get them home.
- Pick plump ones. Choose berries that are fresh and plump—these are signs they’ve been recently picked.
- Look closely. Then inspect the container from all sides, including the bottom, and skip any with mold or smears of berry juice. This can mean the ones hidden in the center are already overripe or damaged.
Wash When You Get Them Home
Washing is a crucial step to make your berries last longer because it eliminates mold spores and bugs. For this, I use the homemade berry wash recipe below. It keeps blueberries and blackberries bright and fresh for over a week, and I’ve had strawberries last twice that long.
Drying: The Critical Step
How you dry berries is almost as important as how you wash them if you want them to last longer. I spread paper towels on the kitchen counter, space the berries so they’re not touching, and let my kitchen ceiling fan do the rest.
If you’re concerned about fruit flies, use a salad spinner lined with paper towels to dry berries quickly. Save this for the sturdy types like strawberries—it’s risky with softer ones like blueberries and blackberries.
How To Store Berries for Maximum Freshness
Now, it’s onto finding a way to store berries so they don’t get moldy. I know TikTok suggests storing berries in mason jars but that has never worked for me. They turn dull and moldy in a matter of days in a jar, regardless of whether I washed them or not.
After I’ve used my homemade berry wash to get them clean, and dried them thoroughly, I store berries in a single layer on paper towels in a shallow, air-tight container. Every couple of days, I change the towels and dry any collected humidity. They stay fresh for me for up to 10 days.
Reviving Wrinkled Ones
Now and then, berries start to look wrinkled or shriveled even though they’re still juicy inside. (So relatable.) I find this happens most often with blueberries, but it’s not a big deal as long as there aren’t signs of mold.
Soaking in ice water for 20 minutes followed by a thorough dry time and a trip back to the fridge revives berries, though you need to use them that day. Incidentally, this trick also works wonders for lettuce and baby carrots.
Signs of Spoilage
Sooner or later, they’re going to go bad if you don’t eat them. Berries that have spoiled will often have a mushy texture, discoloration, and an off smell. Signs of mold also mean it’s time to throw them out, because it gets into crevices you don’t see.
Don’t try to rescue spoiled berries with another bath in homemade berry wash: let them go, and buy fewer next time—or freeze them!
Homemade Berry Wash
Equipment and Materials
- Deep bowl
- White vinegar
- Add 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts cool water in a bowl.
- Soak the berries in this solution for 5 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the berries to a colander and rinse them gently with cool water.
Hot Water Method
- Soak the berries in a sink of hot water (120-140°F) for 5 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cool water.
- Spread berries in a single layer on paper towels to dry. Check and rotate them every 10 minutes. A ceiling fan makes this process much faster.