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Keeping Strawberries fresh for a week

  • s

Probably everyone knows this, but it was news to me 2 years ago. To keep strawberries fresh for a week in the fridge:
- Line a tupperware container with a paper towel
- Place a single layer of unbruised straberries in container.
- cover with paper towel and seal with tupperware lid

Fresh strawberries until the next market.

Another great tip is for celery. If you wrap it in aluminum foil it last for weeks in the vegetable bin. No more limp celery (works best if you remove leaves).

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  1. Eat your fresh strawberries the day you buy them, not a week later.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 2chez mike

      Sort of hard to do if you buy a large container of them at Costco and only have 2 people to feed! Thanks for the advice though, Mike.

    2. b
      Brandon Nelson

      The best tasting varieties of strawberry don't keep for a week. No matter what you do with them. the paper towel trick does work well for heartier strains though. I must agree 2 chez, I buy berries with the intention of consuming them within a day or 2.

      Chow!!!

      1. I once read it's important not to wash strawberries until you eat them.. and not to cut off the stems. I'll try your plastic lidded container idea next time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: zuriga
          s
          Stanley Stephan

          Do NOT wash or remove stems until ready to use. If you do that, the only way to save them is to freeze them.

          In reply to the other folks, I had a bet going about how long it would take someone to say "eat them immediately". I won. I said it would be the first reply.

          In strawberry season, I buy them by the flat. My food shopping is limited to Saturday and I'd rather have my fresh from the fields berries to savor all week than the supermarket kind which are kind of mauled and bruised no matter how careful the grocer.

          My favorites are Chandler strawberries and they hold up very well during the week. The key is to make sure you don't put a bruised berry in the Tupperware. If you do, at worst...science experiment. At best, slice em up, marinate in Grand Marnier or alcohol of choice with a little honey or brown sugar. Surprisingly Irish Wiskey is very nice. Or brandy.

          But if you make sure that you keep the unbruised berries out of the Tupperware, the strawberries are as fresh by the end of the week as in the beginning.

          I haven't picked my own since I can get a flat for as cheap as 6 dollars during peak season. In fact, that's how I learned this tip. The vendor was trying to unload flats of berries in an abundant season. I said, small family...they go bad after 2 - 3 days. I will say though, that on a week that I was alone, a flat was a big mistake. Did freeze the remainder.

          This also works well with other fragile berries like raspberries and blackberries. That's why you see those little pieces of paper in the bottom of these berries.

          Not good for cherries. Just refrigerate in a bowl. One of those fruits that doesn't improve on the counter.

          NEVER refrigerate peaches, apricots, plums or tomatoes. It kills the flavor.

          Enjoy.

        2. you sure have a lot more will power than i do, knowing there are strawberries in the fridge for a week and not devouring them. mine just disappear. sometimes before i even get home from teh store!
          best,
          renee

          13 Replies
          1. re: renee

            even easier than the paper towel and tupperware theory, and they will keep for a week PLUS:

            1. put unwashed unhulled strawberries in a sealable GLASS jar (old mayo jars work well for this, or whatever you have).

            2. you're done.

            this is my grandma's process, and by golly it really works! Plus, you feel very martha with your pretty jar of delicious berries just smiling at you in the fridge.

            1. re: budino

              Thanks, Budino,

              Just found this tip, 6 years later, and it works great. I'm telling everyone!

              1. re: czyha

                Yup- works great. If I see condensation inside the jar I will wipe it down with paper towel and/or leave a paper towel crumbled loosely to absorb excess moisture. I use a big gallon glass jar.

                1. re: torty

                  Yup. Rworange picked up this tip and actually did some experiments with glass jars vs. other methods, and based on her results, I switched to glass jars. You should have seen me last week looking frantically for my favorite glass jar (a tall straight-sided wide-mouth jar that holds three baskets of strawberries and fits in the fridge door). The rest of my household thought I was nuts, but I finally tracked it down (my housecleaner had put it in the laundry room, where someone else had seen it and put it in with a bunch of other old jars, and somehow the lid had ended up on yet another jar in another part of the backyard).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    For me, any variety of strawberry that can last a week isn't worth eating and probably has the texture, heartiness, and consistency of fiberglass.

                    The local kind I buy at farmers' markets here in Portland, the "Hoods", has a shelf life of about a day. They are delicate, small, juicy, ultra sweet, and melt on the tongue. Even refrigerating them damages the flavor.

                    Technology and the drive to have all foods convenient to us no matter the season and the accompanying breeds of produce that can be trucked 2000 miles has damaged food and its simple pleasures.

                    1. re: Leonardo

                      I think the point of the preservation is that there are times when the bounty is so great, and you don't have hoards to feed but still want to enjoy the darlings, so you look for a method. Yes, I could make jam or slice/sugar and freeze, but the glass jar thing is really cool. Three baskets of berries I could devour myself, but at the same time I have plums off my trees, blackberries in the canyon, melons, oranges at their peak, and lets not start on the tomatoes, zukes, etc. We eat as many as we can the first day as they have usually been picked that morning, but after that the jar works to prolong the pleasure.

                      1. re: Leonardo

                        No ... the glass jar works with any variety of berry, even your sensitive "Hoods". I will concede that cooling them might remove a little flavor, but give it a try.

                        The best thing for me was being able to keep a similar fragile berry for a few days. The white raspberries from one vendor would barely make it home. Keeping them more than a day resulted in a nice pile of mold. However, in a glass jar they last five days.

                        Someone mentioned this, but for some reason it firms the texture of berries. The raspberries the next day are actually firmer than when I put them in the jar. I bought some strawberries I didn';t look closely enough at and they were starting to deteriorate. Put them in the glass jar and overnight they firmed up.

                        There is a sort of "Portrait of Dorian Gray" syndrome in the later part of the second week. You really can't let the berries come to room temperature becuase sometimes they just deteriorate.

                        This is funny, my original posting name was Stanley Stephan, and I have since found out the glass jar is preferable to the tupperware method.

                        1. re: rworange

                          I won't tell you what was in the glass jars I had to hunt down in order to try out the above tip, but be assured they are now 'impeccably clean', bless Julia's heart.

                          I will have to make the extreme sacrifice and buy mayo (do they still sell it in glass jars?) in order to keep one around.

                          I take it that a glass jar must be used, as opposed to a plastic?

                          BTW, the berries I have sealed appear to be just fine four days later. What a neat tip, ty.

                          1. re: dolores

                            No more glass mayo jars. However, Mason jars for canning are very inexpensive.

                            Plastic doesn't work. It 'breathes' and isn't as air-tight as glass. A plastic lid though doesn't seem to be a problem.

                            1. re: rworange

                              I like squat, wide-mouth pickle jars. I bum them off friends who go through lots of pickles.

                          2. re: rworange

                            Thank you all for the glass jar tip, now i'm going to buy some raspberries at Costco today, in addition to cherries, mangoes, and strawberries.

                          3. re: Leonardo

                            I haven't tried every single variety stored for a week to get a comparison. It's not just variety, either - it's growing conditions and climate that matter. There's one brand of those green produce-keeper bags that keep my strawberries fresh, sweet, rich and delicious for a week; store the basket in the open bag in the fridge. I depend on my experiences; I find actual outweighs probable.
                            I will try the glass jar this time, though - there's one not-too-nearby stand that has the most amazing strawberries I can find, and I'm very picky about my berries - particularly the straw ones! I bought a bunch there, a bit too many to store flat in the bags in the fridge. The jars will take less space.

                            1. re: Docshiva

                              Having tried every variety in the area, really the only variable is how long ago they were picked. A farmers market berry will last three weeks in a glass jar, a supermarket berry about two.

                              A new thing I read in a raspberry thread is about thermotherapy which a poster writes:
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4136...

                              "It's been reported that washing berries in hot water not only cleans them but helps extend their usable life noticeably"

                              A link to the NY Times article is included
                              http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/din...

                              The reporter's original storage methods were very labor intensive and not that successful Glass jars would have worked better.

                              However, after reading an article about giving berries a brief hot bath to kill any mold, that method ... still labor intensive ... worked better.

                              The reporter writes

                              "The strawberries fared best when I heated them at 125 degrees for 30 seconds. ... I also treated some bruised berries, including one with a moldy tip. After 24 hours none were moldy. The tip mold not only hadn’t spread, it had disappeared."

                              Since berries keep so long for me in glass jars, the extra work doesn't seem worth it.

                              Still, I wonder if the bath before putting in jars would extend the berries ev en furhter. I dont have probles often with mold, but after 2-3 weeks the berries start to ferment.

                              I'm not in a place where I can play with this to see how well it works. Has anyone tried this?

                2. Strawberries stored in Debbie Myer's Green Bags stay fresh and delicious for quite a while.

                  I usually take whatever we haven't eaten immediately after purchase, and put them in the fridge in a Green Bag. They were never meant to keep berries fresh indefinitely, but they will give you many extra days.

                  Since I started using them, I have thrown out at least 80 % less produce.

                  Well worth a try.

                  1. I'm partial to my Food Saver. I place the strawberries in a Food Saver container and suck all the air out. What I don't eat right away stays fresh for quite a while.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Alfred G

                      One thing to note about vacuum sealing: the berries will look fresh for quite some time, but they will ferment.

                        1. re: Stephanie Wong

                          No. They ferment in a bad way, not a boozy way.

                          1. re: rworange

                            thanks for saving me from finding out the hard way

                    2. I worked in a large food service opperation for several years. We always de-stemmed and sliced the berries in half lengthwise. Then kept them in a cold refridgerator, as close to the cooling fan as possible. Whole berries generate their own heat from enzyme activity and will mold, even under refrigeration.Removing the stem section prevents this natural breakdown from starting.
                      A suggestion for those who have freshly harvested berries would be to plunge them into an ice water bath for about 10 or 15 minutes. The idea is to chill the core of the fruit as fast as possible. This is what all growers do with fruit. This process is suggested for all home growers by the food people at Cornell University in New York State, USA. The idea is to bring all of the mass down to 40 degrees as quickly as possible which also slows the enzyme breakdown. Then when you store them in your fridge there is no lag time while your fridge tries to cool the fruit from the outside. If I recall correctly the recommendation is the carry a bucket of ice water to the picking and drop each one in as you pluck it. Just my 2 cents. Enjoy!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Ray_704

                        Don't know about Cornell U, but as mentioned above, don't need to go to all that hassle ...
                        place unhulled, unwashed strawberries in a glass jar and put in the fridge. They will last about 2 weeks
                        http://www.chow.com/general_topics_di...

                        I might give the ice water, de-hulling thing a try and see if they last longer ... testing against a bottled, unwashed batch ... but how long do you need strawberries to last anyway? Two weeks does it for me.

                        Variables are if you buy from a farmers market or a grocery store. The grocery store probably does all you mention. Sometimes grocery store berries will last two weeks, but sometimes they are only good for a week.

                        1. re: rworange

                          I've been impressed by how long strawberries will keep when a little paper towel is introduced - even the organic variety that I've frequently bought that tends to have a very short shelf life otherwise.

                      2. As a single man I cannot consume a big box of strawberries quickly. This is what saves them. I wash them and slice off the stems and then cut them into small pieces. Put the berries into a plastic bowl and sweeten them with any sweetener like Sweet 'n Low, Splenda or sugar. This helps to preserve them and sweeten of course. Them fill the bowl with water to cover the berries. After a few days in the refrigerator the water will become a sweet liquid. They'll stay fresh for up to 2 weeks usually.

                         
                        1. Trick my parents do with keeping fruit longer is to suspend it over some alcohol - such as cheap wine, port/sherry and allow the fumes to diffuse over it. Ie say suspending it in a collander above a salad bowl of such alcohol and keep it in a fridge, putting a lid on it. Works very well for perishable fruits. We were able to keep a big box of apples for a few months with this trick in the cellar. The fruits do pick up the flavour of the drink you use though!

                          1. The best tip I ever got is DO wash them as so as you get home with them, only in a 10:1 water/vinegar solution. Thoroughly dry them afterward by laying them out on paper towels, then blotting them with paper towels before storing.