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Does This Happen to You? - Raspberries Rot/Mold Overnight

We buy raspberries primarily at Fairway. However, often they rot or mold the day after we've bought them. It doesn't seem to matter whether we put in fridge, wash or not. Does this happen to anyone else? Is there anything that can be done to prevent this?

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  1. This happens to me as well, and not just from Fairway. Usually the fuzz creeps up after two days. A lot of the berrys are coming from California, I believe...so they're not fresh when they arrive in the stores. If I buy it from a street vendor for a buck, then I don't expect it to last long...but at a gourmet market you're supposed to be able to do big shoppings without trying to eat everything in a day before it spoils.

    My favorite is the moldy food on display at various Food Emporiums. Freshly washed! Still for sale! That said, I've had the most problems with Trader Joe's produce. I bought a small sack of fingerling potatos that were watery mush within a week. Everything looks find, but it just doesn't last.

    Part of the problem is very few of us in Manhattan are living in apartments with sub zeros, and these dinky mini fridges they supply us with aren't helping the situation.

    1. When you get home, do you pick through them to take out the rotten/moldy ones? Mold spreads very quickly.

      Does this happen when you purchase raspberries from other places?

      This is what Whole Foods says to do:
      Raspberries are fragile and highly perishable and should be consumed or frozen within two days of purchase. When you get them home, inspect and discard any damaged or moldy berries. Place the remaining unwashed berries back in the container or on a plate, cover with paper towels and plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days. Do not keep at room temperature because they can spoil in a matter of hours.

      1. Raspberries are fragile, be very careful about the container you're selecting...any trace of mold or crushing and you're likely to have spoiling the next day. Probably the boxes you're picking up are already a few days from being picked by the time they get to you. They are not likely to last more than another day or two.

        Best not to wash them until eating, and it might help if you take them out of the box and spread them apart on a layer of paper towels before putting back in the fridge. At least you might limit the spread of mold that way. However don't expect too much, even here in CA if I am lucky enough to get a carton the day they are put out, they are probably not going to last more than 3-4 days. I just had a box of Driscoll brand that were beautiful!

        1. Check over and discard any moldy berries. Do NOT rinse. Put in wide-mouthed Mason jar (or other glass container with a tight-fitting lid). Refrigerate. Keeps a long time.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            Yup. rworange did some tests on the glass jar method and reported on them a couple of years ago -- it works great for berries. Here's one thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/317223

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Yes .. in a glass jar with the lid on works .. really! (Thanks rworange!) Don't wash.

              For strawberries, I'll hull them and slice and sprinkle with sugar and put them in glass with a lid and they'll keep a few days; I have not tried this with raspberries .. I just put them straight into a glass jar. (I live in CA and get raspberries at Costco .. always perfect.)

          2. Yes, has happened most recently w/berries w/Costco that were left out of the refrigerator and not washed. They were moldy within 2 mornings after purchase.

            1. Cold Storage! everything spoils quickly when it is returned to a natural climate. That's why the bananas turn that interesting color of brownish-green.

              1. Cooks Illustrated recommends the following - the vinegar solution helps reduce the activity of bioorganisms...

                Pick out the softest ones, and give the rest a quick soak in bowl with a solution of 3 cups water and 1 cup distilled white vinegar. Drain and spin gently dry in a paper-towel lined salad spinner for 15 seconds. Store, loosely covered, in a container lined with paper towels.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Karl S

                  No offense, but that sounds like a terrible idea. Those CI folks do tend to beat things to death and then some sometimes.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    However, it works everytime and it does not change the taste or vitamins/minerals of the fruit! Chemistry 101.

                2. Red raspberries will mold while you stand there watching them. I have given up on them and use the frozen when I need raspberries. For fresh, blackberries keep for weeks in the refrigerator.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Querencia

                    yep. I have picked the damn things myself at a nearby farm, and STILL had them be moldy within hours. But I have also had some hold a good while. personnaly, i think it's related to how humid the weather is. Which is usually "very".

                  2. I work for a berry packing company and trained as a food scientist. I've been reading on berry diseases and apparently some mold problems don't show up until the berries fully mature. What packers do is quickly freeze incoming farm fresh berries to below freezing (think 0 to minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit). The mold symptoms in berries can manifest itself quickly in mature berries provided it is in its normal favorable environment. So most of the berries don't return to ambient temperatures until it reaches the supermarkets shelves where you buy them since they've been kept frozen all the way.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Hayasuhade

                      That explains a lot! No wonder we can never get really good berries at the grocery store.

                    2. Being moister than other berries, raspberries will easily "sweat" in their plastic-topped containers if they go from a warm car into a cool house and are not uncovered while they acclimate to the cooler room before being refrigerated. I like to put all berries in front of a fan for a couple of hours before placing them in a paper-towel lined Rubbermaid container. I leave the cover open at one end and after a few hours in the fridge, take it out and dry off any condensation on the lid. Then lay a dry paper towel over the berries and seal completely. That works for 10+ days for strawberries, and close to a week for raspberries that were in top condition when purchased. I do this ONLY with unbruised berries. Any that have a soft spot get eaten right away, or are placed at the top of the Rubbermaid container so they get eaten soonest.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: greygarious

                        You've outlined and perfected a cure for what I've always thought- that condensation is a real killer of a lot of produce. Thank you.

                      2. I make sure there's nothing black-or-white growing on any raspberries, and no damp spot on the absorbent pad underneath them, AND I make sure I carry them like hair-trigger explosives from the store to the fridge. I don't wash them- it ruins them, I hope I dont' get poisoned from insecticides, but washing them or getting them wet at all wrecks them. Last time I got a pack of them at Costco, they were at their peak of delicate perfection, and the stupid bagger stuck the clamshell sideways into the box and crushed half of them, so they molded within a day or two.

                        1. Sprinkle a little sugar on the berries before you put then in the refrigerator. I don't know why this works, but it does.

                          1. Raspberries by their nature are delicate things. It's best to eat them the same day of purchase, or the next day. To help prevent molding (to some degree): wash only before consuming, and try to store them not squashed together in the same package as bought. Another good thing, but this completely depends on how you are going to consume them, is to mash them up into a kind of puree (can be done with a fork), and then eat them in that form. They also tend not to get moldy that way.

                            1. Just got this berrie tip today from unknown source. Use Vinegar.... "Berries are delicious, but they're also kind of delicate. Raspberries in particular seem like they can mold before you even get them home from the market. There's nothing more tragic than paying $4 for a pint of local raspberries, only to look in the fridge the next day and find that fuzzy mold growing on their insides. Well, with fresh berries just starting to hit farmers markets, we can tell you that how to keep them fresh! Here’s a tip I’m sharing on how to prevent them from getting there in the first place: Wash them with vinegar.

                              When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water.
                              Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge. The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them."