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Storing Strawberries

When I first started reading Chowhound, I saw a post about storing strawberries in glass jars. I've been doing that with mixed results. I almost always buy my berries at a farmer's market and they are really super sweet, with barely any white caps. I let them air dry on a paper towel before I put them in a jar and then into the fridge. But almost always, there is condensation in the jar and the berries don't last very long, just a few days before they start to mold. I usually put a paper towel on top of the berries to absorb the moisture but that doesn't work.

I'm almost tempted to just keep them in the plastic basket they come in and skip the jar method (which takes up more room anyway).

Thoughts, suggestions?

Thanks!

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  1. I, too, use the glass jar method after reading about it on Chowhound. I get condensation in the jar, too, but that doesn't seem to cause a problem. In the jar they last a good week or so. Not in the jar they last just a couple of days, 3 max. As I type this, it occurs to me that perhaps there would not be so much condensation if the berries were refrigerator cold before they went into the jar. Just a thought.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jmnewel

      Hmmm, so would you chill them just in the basket or in a plastic or paper bag first? At the farmer's market, they always put the basket into a plastic bag. If I have to get berries from the supermarket, they come in a plastic container and don't need a bag.

      Thanks.

    2. I think the rule was to store them in glass jars unwashed and unhulled. Are you washing them first? The other consideration is that fresh berries from the farmer's market are usually way sweeter and juicier than those from the supermarket so that might make them more likely to mold quickly. Maybe try freezing what you can't use right away.

      4 Replies
      1. re: EM23

        Having spent a significant part of my life in the strawberry-producing region of Florida, yes -- if you can't use them in 2-3 days, freeze them.

        1. re: EM23

          I don't wash them. I lay them flat on a paper towel for awhile, then they go into the jar. I also sometimes put a paper towel on the bottom of the jar. Nothing seems to help.

          Some weeks I just can't use them fast enough and of course then they spoil. I never know exactly how much I'll use right away. If I freeze them, how should I prep them?

          Thanks!

          1. re: alwayshungrygal

            How to prep them to freeze? Wash, hull and drain/dry; spread them out on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer; after they have frozen (several hours) put them into freezer bags and zip up removing as much air as possible (oh how I wish I had a Foodsaver).

            I use them as a sauce with plain Greek yogurt - toss them in a pan w/a little orange juice, heat to a boil and then mash them.
            There are a few threads on the homecooking boards for other way to use them
            https://www.google.com/search?gcx=w&a...

            BTW, I am jealous that you have this farmer's market strawberry "problem" in the middle of November:-)

            1. re: EM23

              EM23--move to the Bay Area and you'll have this "problem" most of the year. I was at the market 2 weeks ago and was surprised to still see stone fruit (admittedly, a smaller selection than the middle of the summer) and beautiful heirloom tomatoes...right next to butternut squash and really nice brussels sprouts. Srawberries will continue for a few more weeks. I suspect some of it is hothouse grown. But yeah, it is a nice problem to have. I'm very lucky to have a great farmer's market just 2 miles from my home.

        2. I often buy strawberries at the market - the first of the season are just beginning to appear here :) Haven't tried the glass jar method; however, I keep them successfully for a week using this method:
          Take the basket out of the plastic bag ASAP & spread the berries out on a towel to dry. Pick them over, removing any bad ones. Separate extremely ripe berries to be used immediately. Put the rest back into the basket, with paper towel on the bottom. Add a layer of paper towel between each layer of berries, and on top of the basket. Refrigerate. Change the paper towels if they become excessively moist. Wash & hull just before serving.
          Keeping the berries dry and handling them gently are the 2 musts. Good luck!

          2 Replies
          1. re: almond tree

            Thanks for this tip. I'll try this layering method next. Almost all of the berries are extremely ripe, very few have any white tops. I do try to keep them dry and handle gently but the condensation is perplexing. With just me at home it's a challenge to use them up quickly enough before they turn bad.

            1. re: alwayshungrygal

              I also live alone, and can't get to the farmers' market (in these parts we call it the souk) more than once a week, but I'm determined to have my really ripe, red strawberries.
              Condensation is much less of a problem with my method, which doesn't involve storing in a closed container or plastic bag.

          2. Many threads on the subject. Here's one:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2771...

            In this video, Harold Mcgee says to soak in 125 degee water for 30-45 seconds:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fEcQj...

            In his article describing his "fruit soaking" experiment, he says he sealed the "test berries" in air tight containers to encourage spoilage - so I'm guessing he wouldn't recommend the jar method.
            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/din...