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Strawberries are so delicious. Whether you add them to smoothies, bake them into pies, or enjoy a delicious arrangement, like the beautiful Blooming Daisies® from Edible®, strawberries are the epitome of summertime flavor. They’re plump, juicy, and perfectly fresh, but they’re also delicate and easily bruised. So, how can you make sure that they remain fresh even if you aren’t going to eat them right away? Here’s our go-to guide on storing strawberries.
Pick the Right Strawberries
Ensuring that your strawberries stay fresh actually begins at the U-Pick farm, farmer’s market, or food store. Look for firm, plump, bright red berries with green stems. Also keep in mind that strawberries don’t ripen after they’re picked, so any berries that are white and unripe are going to stay that way.
Likewise, avoid any berries that are squishy, moldy, or have bruised spots. If you’re buying your strawberries in a container, be sure to inspect all visible berries. Then, when you get home, take a look at all the others. It’s important to remove any moldy berries. Just one moldy strawberry can ruin the entire bunch.
Store Fresh Berries on the Counter
If you’re planning on eating your strawberries the first day you buy them, you don’t have to worry about refrigerating them or freezing them. In fact, you can simply store them on the counter until you’re ready to enjoy them. You can keep strawberries in their original plastic container or place them in a colander so that the air can circulate around and through them. Then, rinse and remove the stems when you want to eat them.
How to Store Strawberries in the Refrigerator
You’ll need to store your strawberries in the refrigerator if you want to savor them over the next few days. Your aim here is to keep the strawberries cold and – most importantly – dry so they won’t turn moldy. You also want to ensure that they get proper airflow so that moisture won’t be trapped inside that will turn to mold. To accomplish this, place a paper towel in the bottom of a colander. Without washing or removing the stems, place the strawberries into the colander and refrigerate. If you have room, it’s a good idea to store your strawberry-filled colander in your refrigerator’s crisper. Storing strawberries in the crisper will even further reduce the amount of moisture that reaches the berries. Before eating or using them in recipes, simply wash the strawberries under cool water and remove the stems.
Unlike whole berries, strawberries that have been cut or hulled should be stored in an airtight container. Place a paper towel at the bottom of the container and seal the top. This will help protect the exposed berries from mold growth, but it will greatly reduce their shelf life – so be sure to enjoy them soon!
How to Freeze Strawberries
If you’re not planning on using all of your strawberries within a week, freezing them is your best plan of action. To do this, rinse your strawberries, remove the stems, and allow them to dry. Place the berries in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze, uncovered, for three hours or until they’re solid. Doing so will keep them from getting stuck together. Once they’re frozen, transfer the berries to a freezer bag that has been labeled with today’s date. You can keep them frozen for up to three months.
To lengthen the time your frozen berries will stay fresh, try adding a simple syrup. This simple addition can add months to the shelf life of frozen strawberries. Packed in liquid, the berries better retain their color and shape. Just combine two cups of water with one-half cup of sugar, doubling this ratio as needed to get the right amount of syrup. Dissolve the sugar in hot water and chill before use. Use about one-half to one-third cup of syrup for each pint of strawberries and mix together. Package the mixture in an airtight container and freeze. Your frozen strawberries will stay fresh for up to six months.
If you’re a fan of fresh strawberries (and who isn’t?), you need to know how to store them properly so you can savor every last strawberry, even if you can’t eat or use them all right away. With these tips in hand, you can ensure you’ll get the most out of the fresh strawberries from a delectable fruit platter like Edible®’s Fresh Fruit Favorites Platter or any strawberries you purchase at your local food store.