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How to Clean and Store Berries

In season berries taste so much better than out-of-season berries, and this time of year the grocery stores, berry farms and farmers markets are teeming with them. We stock up on the red, blue and purple fruits, and then we realize we have no idea how to store them properly. What are we to do? How can we possibly eat this many berries before they all go bad? Today, we will teach you how to take fresh, ripe berries and store them properly so you can avoid those moldy disappointments and last-minute rushes to make as many cobblers and muffins as possible for your neighbors. You’ll be able to use your gorgeous berries in all kinds of fresh dishes and smoothies, and you will know exactly what to do next time the kids come home from a berry farm field trip.

The instructions we have provided for cleaning and storing your berries are for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and the like.

If you are planning to store your berries in the fridge…

keep them in their original container so they can breathe at around 32-34°F. Keep your berries dry. If they look too crowded or humid, you may want to lay a paper towel under the berries in the bottom of the container. As a general rule, avoid the crisper drawers at all costs as they are much too humid for sensitive berries. Wait to wash berries until just before you are ready to use them, then rinse gently under cool water. You can let them get closer to room temperature before serving to enhance their natural flavors. Berries typically keep in the fridge for two to seven days, depending on the type of berry. Generally, the more fragile the berry, the shorter it will keep.

If you are planning to freeze your berries for later use…

rinse them in cool water as you would before serving berries stored in the fridge, then allow them to dry completely. (Blueberries, by exception, should not be washed before freezing, as their skins become tough. Instead, wash them right before using after they’ve thawed.) It’s not necessary to freeze the berries individually on large, wax-paper lined cookie sheets first, though some sensitive berries, like raspberries and blackberries, can benefit from it. For heartier berries, just place them in a sealed container and freeze until ready to use.

You might also like…

How to Clean and Store Lettuce

Food Focus: Strawberries

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  1. It makes sense that berries should not be served from the refrigerator until they are rinsed off and dried. My wife and I are interested in finding a way to help our children stay healthy so that they can start participating in sports this summer, and we would like to find a delicious and healthy snack. Maybe we should find some quality strawberries that can be stored in our refrigerator.

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