How to Get the Most out of Fresh Berries

One of the most delicious gifts of the spring and summer seasons is an abundance of fresh berries.

Are you storing your berries correctly? If yours are going bad before you get a chance to eat them, then this post is for you! Read more on Foodal:

Eating handfuls of blueberries has to be one of my favorite things to indulge in on a hot summer day. However, these seasonal treats can be rather fragile and expensive.

Are you storing your berries correctly? If yours are going bad before you get a chance to eat them, then this post is for you. Learn proper storage and a few tricks so you never waste a single blueberry, strawberry, raspberry or blackberry again. If you love berries as much as we do, you'll want to check out this post for our top tips! Find out more now.

If you leave these gems of the fruit world in the refrigerator in an open container, you might notice that they start to shrivel up and lose their firmness rather quickly.

All of a sudden, these become undesirable, and end up in the trash.

Well, today we’re going to share our best tips for storing these precious fruits, so you’ll be able to enjoy them for as long as possible.

Do Not Wash

Rule Number One: do not wash until you plan to consume them!

A lot of times we want to rinse our produce as soon as we get it home, but that shouldn’t be the case with these.

Blueberries in a Colander

Seasonal berries tend to mold very easily, and the best way to avoid this is by keeping them as dry as possible.

Inspection Time

When you do get your delicate fruit home, take it out of the container and look for any that exhibit signs of mold, or that are smashed or soft.

A lot of times, there will be a moldy raspberry or strawberry at the bottom of the container that you totally missed when inspecting your find at the store or market.

Remove any of the moldy or soft specimens from the bunch, as mold tends to spread.

Learn proper storage and a few tricks so you never have to waste a single strawberry (or blueberry, or raspberry, or blackberry) again! Read more on Foodal now.Read more on Foodal:

For larger fruit like strawberries, you can wash any soft or moldy specimens, cut away the bad parts, and eat what remains right away.

Transfer to a Bigger Container

Once you remove any that have already started to go bad, line a large lidded plastic container with a paper towel, and place all of the fruit inside.

Be sure to choose a container that is large enough for the job.

You want to give the berries some space to breathe. When they’re smashed up against each other, they tend to spoil quickly.

Baskets of Blackberries |

Finally, place a lid on top and store them in the refrigerator.

Be sure to keep the tops attached if you’re storing strawberries, as that seems to prolong their shelf life as well. I generally avoid storing all types on the top shelf of the refrigerator, where they may freeze.

You may also choose to use the same container for storage if you bought them in a plastic clamshell, and don’t have anything handy that’s slightly bigger to put them in.

This is simple enough to do: Rinse the container out, dry it well, and add a paper towel to the bottom to absorb any excess moisture.

You might have noticed that the container your berries came in already included a pad in the bottom to absorb wetness. Toss this out, and start fresh with a clean paper towel.

Extend Shelf Life with Water and Vinegar

You can also try rinsing your berries in a solution of vinegar and water.

Here’s the ratio to mix up your own at home: 1 part vinegar to 3 parts cool water. White vinegar is the best option when it comes to cleaning produce.

Simply fill a large bowl with the mixture and place your fruit in the bowl. Mix the berries around a little bit and leave to soak for 1-2 minutes, and then dump out the water. Rinse the berries gently in a colander.

Washing Strawberries |

Lay them out to air dry on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels for 30-60 minutes, and then store them as stated above. You don’t want to pat them dry if you can avoid it, as this can damage the fruit.

These seasonal fruits usually last 4-7 days in the refrigerator, and this method can add an additional 5 days to their shelf life.

Berries are fragile and can be finicky, but the taste of these when fresh and in season – well, nothing beats it!

Now, if you do find yourself with a basket that is about to go bad, you can always freeze them.

Utilize Your Freezer

When it comes to freezing, you’ll want to wash and dry the berries first.

If you’re freezing blueberries, we suggest placing them flat on a large baking sheet and freezing them like that for 1 hour, and then transferring them to a large zip-top storage bag – otherwise these will stick together, making it nearly impossible to break them apart.

Are you storing your berries correctly? If yours are going bad before you get a chance to eat them, then this post is for you! Read more on Foodal:

Other types don’t seem to share this problem, so for these you may simply wash, place them in a large plastic storage bag, and freeze.

You will always find a few bags in my freezer, as I love to stock up on them when in season at the farmers market, and then freeze them to enjoy in smoothies throughout the year.

How to use up those berries:

There are so many incredible options for using these brightly hued, fresh seasonal fruits in your cooking! Here are a few of my favorites:

Store these delicate fruits with care and they’ll last a little longer, and taste just as good as when you first purchased them.

A Dish of Raspberries |

Do you have a go-to berry, one that you love above all the others? Leave a comment below, and let us know which one is your favorite!

About Sarah Hagstrom

Sarah is a health food advocate and loves to spend her time whipping up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen and then sharing either on Foodal or on her own blog "The Seasonal Diet" ( She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.

22 thoughts on “How to Get the Most out of Fresh Berries”

  1. This actually makes a lot of sense. My family buys a lot of strawberries, especially when they are in season, and we keep them in the same container, wash them immediately, and just throw them in the fridge.

    Almost always, if we don’t finish them the same day we bought them, then they go and spoil surprisingly fast. I’m definitely going to try a few of the tricks here, like moving them to a larger container, next time I grab a few.

  2. Where I grew up, we had an abundance of Strawberries and Blueberries during the summer. As you said, the big thing is just moisture.. if they are damp, they are going to mold very fast. For me now, I have just learned which fruits and vegetables need to be bough in smaller amounts, more frequently. Strawberries and other berries in particular, just don´t buy so much and expect to keep them. Buy what you are going to use and eat that day and the next day. Freezing them is not an option for me, they just lose too much identity.

  3. I’ve ALWAYS washed my berries before even putting them in the fridge! This explains why they always go bad so quickly… I’m thinking about trying my hand at growing some this year, my local farmer’s market is selling strawberry plants and I’m absolutely dying to get one. My only worry was that they’d go bad before I could eat them, but freezing them is an awesome idea! Do you know about how long strawberries last frozen?

  4. I grew up picking different kind of fruits, including berries. My uncle grew them and of course, we would eat a lot of them while picking – no washing involved there. Although I do agree that washing them will make them far more fragile and shriveled than they already are. Now I usually just buy (straw)berries from the local store even though they just aren’t the same.

  5. Thank you for the information. Maybe I’ll get to eat more of my berries now. I hate it when I have to toss them.

  6. Thank you for these great ideas! I try to have to have berries every day but I usually go the simple route and a make a morning smoothie or juice with them. I’m excited to try these new ideas and this is perfect timing because I am just starting to see some really beautiful ones at my local farmers markets!

  7. Strawberries are my personal favorite. I have actually ended up having to throw away quite a few thanks to mold and general squishiness :-P. Next season I’m going to give these storage tips a shot. Unfortunately none of the other berries on your list are available in fresh form in my part of the world. Already frozen is my only option. While we do have a couple of other berries native to the region, I’m unaware of their English names.

  8. I never knew that about water and vinegar! I was even thinking about one of those ‘active oxygen’ fridges to put my berries in but I guess I don’t have to now 🙂

    This post is perfect for summer, many thanks for this 🙂 hope other people find this helpful too 🙂

  9. I have never heard that tip about rinsing strawberries in vinegar water, my toddler LOVES strawberries, but if I buy too many when they are on sale I always end up losing a lot before he can eat them all. This will really help me take advantage of stocking up when the price is right! I’ve also always cored the berries out of convenience, but will be leaving the tops on and storing with a fresh paper towel. Thank you!

    • Definitely try freezing them also. It really works. I’m trying to change my habits to stock up on produce when it goes on sale and immediately freeze some of it to use later when that same produce doubles in price.

  10. The washing with vinegar really works. But I try to do it when I get home with the produce. I thought that helped get rid of the spores that would cause it to mold. You’re saying even if I’m washing with vinegar not to do it until I’m ready to use them?

  11. I couldn’t possibily pick my favorite berry, I love them all! Seriously, I think I could eat them every day, and never get tired of them! I’ve always had troubles storing them though, they always go bad very fast and now I know why. I used to wash them right away and I stored them in the fridge in a open container. Now, thanks to your post, I know better, and I won’t make the same mistake again. Thank you so much for the precious tips, I’m learning a lot of new things from this blog. For example, I had no idea that washing them with water and white vinegar could prolong their shelf life for 5 days. It”s great, I won’t have to throw out my beloved fruits anymore.

  12. Berries are one of my favorite fruits, you can use them at anything. Tea, smoothies, dessert, you name it, they taste amazing! Wish I read this sooner, a lot of my berries went bad because I didn’t take care of them properly.

  13. I had no idea that you can actually make berries last longer using that method, it’s amazing! I will use it from now. 🙂 I think that my favorite thing to do with berries are freezing them, it’s more refreshing for me to eat them while they’re frozed.
    I think that we need to get the most out of any fruits actually, they are really healthy and delicious, and it’s also a way to get healthier habits.
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Well I never knew about the water and vinegar solution for keeping them fresh, and I have to say that it is perfect for me and is what I have been looking for for some times now. I always buy the berries this time of year and then they go bad pretty quick, which of course means wasted opportunity. This will certainly help, though, so thank you for that.

  15. I just went strawberry picking with my family on July 1. I went to make a smoothie with some berries I had in the fridge this morning and I was so impressed that they were still fresh and juicy. Not one went moldy. Had I kept the ones I bought from the store in the fridge that long I would have had to toss them. I froze about a 3 large freezer bags full and used the baking tray technique. It was so easy to get them out to put into a smoothie. I love using berries at this time of year. The taste is incredible.

    • Ohhhhhh~~~ Lucky you~

      It’s been a long time since I went strawberry picking -the last time was when I was still in elementary :P. We actually went to the strawberry farm when I was in high school, too bad I got sick so we didn’t get to pick strawberries >o<

  16. Oh, these are good tips. I’m just wondering though, won’t washing them in vinegar solution leave them with a bit of that “vinegar taste”?
    Thanks for the tips though -lol, now I know what that pad is for (I really didn’t know XD). On the other hand, I didn’t know that washing the berries would make them more prone to mold (though it’s really logical when I think about it), good thing I’m too lazy to wash the berries before putting them into the refrigerator 😛

  17. These are some of my favorites. They are tasty and so healthy. These tips will certainly come in handy. I’ll be freezing some of these goodies whenever they are in season to save for later. I’m always sad when my favorites are no longer in season. Instead of buying the already frozen variety from the grocery store during those times, I’ll simply pop some of these out of the freezer.

    I had no idea you shouldn’t wash right away. I always do that. Thanks for the info.


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