Easy tips on how to store, wash and freeze fresh strawberries to make them last longer. This method keeps strawberries fresh for up to 2 weeks.
These tips will help you keep your strawberries fresh for longer, no matter if you grow your own in the garden or buy them at the grocery store. Nothing really beats freshly grown, sweet, Summer strawberries so we’ll explore the best ways to store and freeze them to maximize the flavor and shelf life!
How to Store Fresh Strawberries
If you are going to use your strawberries almost right away, just leave them on the counter top at room temperature. They will stay fresh as long as you use them within a day or two. This is what I do when I plan on making Strawberry Jam the following day.
If you’re buying strawberries from the store be sure to check your pack of strawberries and remove any that are moldy or mushy so they don’t ruin others in the batch. This should be the first thing you do when you get home with them! That one berry can easily pass on that rot to all the other berries around it, so it’s better to toss it right away.
Strawberries are similar to sponges and will absorb any and all moisture around them. This dilutes their sugars, making them bland, and leads them to rot more quickly.
How to Make Strawberries Last Longer in the Refrigerator?
If you plan on storing them for longer than 2 days, store strawberries in the refrigerator, making sure to keep them cold and dry.
Remove the strawberries from the container they came in, examine for any rotten ones, and add a couple pieces of paper towels to the bottom of the container. Alternatively you could just use your own Tupperware container if you prefer. Add the strawberries back into the packaging now, on top of the paper towel. Any excess moisture should be absorbed by the paper towels until they are ready to be used.
Once they are ready to use in your favorite recipe, remove the stem, leaves, and wash them. Never wash your whole strawberries before you store them. That extra moisture will only lead to mold. If your strawberries come with a full stem, leave it and the leaves attached. removing the stem and leaves will expose the inner flesh of the fruit and encourage more moisture to circulate. This leads to the berry molding and turning mushy and gross rather quickly.
If you are a bit squeamish about storing unwashed produce in the fridge another option is a vinegar bath. When you first get the strawberries home, add 1/4 cup vinegar to 1.5 cups of water. Add the berries and let them soak for about 5 minutes. Then you rinse them off and leave them on paper towels to fully dry out. Once they are totally dry, store them on top of paper towels in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.
How to Wash Strawberries
Commercial strawberries typically receive a lot of pesticides while they are growing. Lots of pests love to eat them and ruin crops. Even certified organic berries can still be sprayed with certain kinds of pesticides to keep them safe.
So if you are buying commercial berries, it is best to make sure you wash them properly and thoroughly. Remember to only wash your berries right before you use them so that they don’t rot prematurely.
There are four methods of washing strawberries that will help ensure they are clean and clear of any man made or natural dirt.
The first way is with a vinegar bath. f you need a large bath for a ton of berries after hitting the local berry picking patch, use 8 cups of water to 1 cup of vinegar. Let them sit in the bath around 5 minutes, making sure every berry is shifted or mixed around to help loosen any ground-in grime. Do not worry about a vinegar aftertaste, as this short amount of time is thorough enough to kill off any spores or bacteria and clean them off without letting any absorb.
The second method is to just give them a quick hot water bath. Toss the strawberries in a pot of water for 15 seconds at 125 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a great way to kill off anything unseen, like bacteria, before eating them fresh.
The third method uses a commercial fruit cleaner. Follow the directions on the bottle and make sure to store them dry and they should be good to go.
The fourth method is the least time consuming and what most people do. Place your strawberries in a colander and run them under your faucet in sink for 1 minute, gently rubbing them to remove any dirt on the surface. After washing, pat gently with a towel to dry.
Should Strawberries Be Stored in an Airtight Container?
Strawberries can be stored in an airtight container, but it may not be the best method for storing them more than the short term. This is because an airtight container will trap any moisture existing in that space, and excess moisture will lead to mushy, rotten strawberries.
One reason that you place paper towels at the bottom is to absorb as much excess moisture as they can instead of the berries if you do store them in an airtight container. This is best for strawberries that have already been cut and/or hulled. Once the flesh is exposed the internal moisture has just as much of a chance to mold. So, an airtight container will help keep any bacteria from circulating and to cause that to happen sooner.
Whole berries are best stored in an open colander or on an open container with space between each one. This allows the moisture to evaporate away rather than be absorbed by the berries.
How to Freeze Strawberries
Strawberries are an incredible source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and many other nutrients. The significant health benefits are another reason to want to take advantage of their short season and save them for use throughout the year. Plus think of the money you can freeze if you buy them in bulk when they’re in season!
Luckily, strawberries are extremely easy to freeze. Make sure to wash the berries before freezing them. Remove the stem and leaves, and then leave the strawberries whole, or you can halve or quarter them. It’s really up to you.
Lay out the washed berries on cloth or paper towels and dab them dry. Then let them completely air dry for at least 30-60 minutes. . Finally, transfer the berries to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bunch them up into small bunches if you want them to freeze together, or spread them all apart from one another to have the option of using one or many at a time once they are frozen.
Place the strawberries in the freezer and let them freeze for at least two hours. Usually, two to three hours is good in most freezers. Once they are fairly solid and frozen enough to not stick together any longer they can be transferred to an airtight freezer bag or container, removing as much air out as possible.
Frozen strawberries stay good in the freezer for 6 months to a year. However, after six months the berries may start to lose some of their flavors and run a greater risk of freezer burn. If you have a chest freezer, they will probably stay good for longer and better frozen.
How to Freeze Dry Strawberries
While you can oven dry strawberries that taste amazing, they typically only stay good in an airtight container for two to three days. Freeze drying does exactly what it says and freezing the fruit as it completely dehydrates it. This means that as long as they are stored in a cool dry place, they will keep for quite a long time. Plus they require zero additives and are great for a variety of uses. Stored properly, freeze-dried strawberries remain edible for 10-15 years.
Even if you don’t have a freeze-dry machine, you can still use a simple home method to freeze-dry your strawberries. Fully wash and dry your berries. Remove the stems and use a mandolin to slice the strawberries thin. Lay the slices out apart from each other on a paper plate and seal the strawberries on the plate inside a freezer bag. Make sure to press out as much air as possible without squishing the berries before sealing it shut. Make as many of these “trays” as you need.
You’ll need a layer of dry ice in a freezer that can be left partially open, or a cooler or a bucket with a lid. Stack up your bagged plates on top of the dry ice and mostly close the lid. Leave it slightly open so the evaporating carbon dioxide can escape. Once the dry ice has completely evaporated seal the lid completely and tightly. Keep them stored in a cool dry place until you need to use them.
I hope these methods will help you store and freeze your strawberries to make them last longer!
More Tips on How to Store Vegetables
How to Store Carrots for Months
How to Store Cucumbers to Last for Weeks
How to Freeze Peaches
How to Store Garlic For a Long Time
How to Freeze Broccoli for Long-Term Use
Freezing Tomatoes for Year-Round Use
Store Potatoes Perfectly for a Long Time
How to Store Lettuce to Last for a Month
How to Freeze Zucchini Without Blanching