How To Store Strawberries So They Last | It’s officially strawberry season! If you have been accustomed to only buying produce during their peak seasons, you know just how exciting strawberry season can be.
Most of the year strawberries are sold in flimsy, non-recyclable plastic clamshells and end up making a thousand mile journey to your local grocery store. This makes their carbon footprint very high when they are not in season.
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Sadly, for most grocery stores though, “in season” produce just doesn’t exist. You can easily see when you start looking at where each potato, strawberry, or apple is grown on its little sticker. And not to mention that for some produce, it’s kept in storage for a very long time (across various seasons) before it even hits shelves.
The apples at the store may be a year old. So if you really want to ensure peak season and the lowest footprint, shop your farmer’s markets, support a coop, invest in a CSA, or support grocery stores that source locally.
Shopping in season also means that the window of enjoyment is limited. Strawberries are only in season in Missouri for about 3-4 weeks so trust me when I say I LOAD up. I will eat fresh strawberries every day until I can’t. For the remainder of the year, I freeze as many as I can.
If you are having a hard time finding them at farmer’s markets, look for some local U-Pick Berry Farms near you and enjoy an afternoon picking with the whole family.
The ultimate Zero Waste Strawberry is one that you can grow in your garden. I had a huge strawberry patch for many years that was able to provide me with enough for a year’s worth of Jam. And luckily, strawberries can be easily grown in small spaces and in containers.
How To Store Strawberries So They Last
So once you get them home, how on earth do you store those strawberries so they last longer than a few days? I can’t even believe how easy this is that I almost feel dumb posting this article but hey, whatever I can do to help you everyone enjoy strawberries for as long as possible. Any strawberry waste would just be a travesty!
If you aren’t freezing them, this easy – fool proof method will have your strawberries lasting upwards of 2-3 weeks. Yea, you read that right. And No, I’m not crazy or lying.
Wash the Berries in a Vinegar bath
That’s important. Many say not to but I do. Strawberries carry mold spores that can quickly cause the rest of the berries to go bad. I fill up my sink with cold water, pour a splash of vinegar in and let them soak for a bit.
Dry them thoroughly
Once clean, I spread them out onto a towel so that they can dry completely. I try to avoid storing wet berries.
Remove the Squishy ones
I freeze the squishy ones for later or enjoy them right then and there. I’ll use them in jam, smoothies, or desserts. FYI – strawberry shortcake is my FAVORITE dessert.
Store in Sealable Jars
I put all of my non-squishy berries into sealable Le Parfait jars then store them in the refrigerator. Of course any jar with a lid will do. They will last for at least two weeks. And that’s my primary secret to get Strawberries to last.
Why does this work?
Keeping the strawberries sealed prevent them from off-gassing – ethylene gas to be exact. Ethylene is produced for growth and development – it’s completely natural. In order for berries to produce ethylene gas they first need oxygen. Reducing the oxygen around the berry and additionally lowering the temperature to slow metabolism will ensure your berries last a long, long time.
Science is cool, right?
This process works for all berries so when you bring them home get them all into jars and into the fridge asap.
Don’t forget to save the strawberry tops.
Let’s make sure we keep this completely Zero Waste. Keep the tops in the freezer and add them to your smoothies. No one likes food waste, especially when it’s completely edible.
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