I’m not going to bore you with the history, nutritional value or even how strawberries taste like!
I just want to show you how to store strawberries, both short-term and long-term.
So, let’s get right to it, shall we?
Best Way to Store Strawberries
Whereas there are a myriad of ways to store strawberries, the one described below is a winner:
- Combine 3 parts water and 1 part white vinegar into a plastic bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda slowly to prevent a volcanic eruption (ha ha!). Mix well. White vinegar is effective in removing mold and stuck soil. Baking soda is an excellent pesticide remover.
- Add your strawberries into the mixture.
- Leave them to soak for 15 minutes.
- Rinse strawberries well under running water.
- Prepare a salad spinner. It is effective in extracting moisture. Another common way of drying that you may have come across is – placing washed strawberries on paper towels and leaving them to dry. This is not only time consuming, you may also need to manually rub the strawberries with the towel to ensure they dry well, which causes bruising hence spoilage.
- Line the spinner with paper towels which absorb the water. They also prevent mashing of fruits while being spun around.
- Leave to dry completely.
- Line paper towels in a plastic container.
- Arrange your strawberries well and place the lid on.
If you are wondering on where to store strawberries, refrigerate in the vegetable crisper drawer.
When stored this way, you will enjoy fresh strawberries for up to 14 days.
This is not only the best way, it also shows you how to store strawberries after washing them.
Ideally, avoid washing strawberries before short-term storage. Only wash if you want to store them long-term using methods such as freezing or canning.
How to Store Fresh-Picked Strawberries
Since strawberries ripen before harvest, store immediately after picking.
Discard those with visible mold, bruises or dents.
Avoid leaving them at room temperature. This attracts fruit flies and also shortens their shelf life. If you have to, put them in perforated containers and place in a cool, dark area.
Do Strawberries Need to Be Refrigerated?
Absolutely! Strawberries love a cool and humid environment. When left at room temperature, strawberries shrivel and become limp quickly.
How do You Make Strawberries Last Longer in the Refrigerator?
- When refrigerating strawberries, avoid sealing the storage container tightly. This gives the strawberries room to breathe, hence preventing condensation.
- Do not remove the stems prior to storage. Removing stems causes tearing of skin, dryness and exposure to contaminants and bacteria which cause spoilage.
- Refrigerate correctly. To make your strawberries last longer, use the vegetable crisper drawer only. The humidity here keeps strawberries from drying out.
- Sort out – remove those with any signs of softness or spoilage before refrigerating.
Other ways you can make strawberries last longer include:
- Never leave them at room temperature for more than a day, unless you plan to eat or use immediately.
- Eliminate moisture, heat and exposure to direct sunlight. These exacerbate spoilage.
How to Store Strawberries Long-term
This involves preserving them as discussed below.
Roll up your sleeves and try out any of the following simple, effective methods!
There is nothing quite as refreshing on a hot summer day, as adding frozen strawberries into your smoothie. In addition, with freezing, you get to have a year’s supply.
There are several methods of how to freeze and store strawberries in the freezer. Check them out and use what works for you.
- Sort and discard spoiled strawberries.
- Clean and dry thoroughly. You can use whole or halved strawberries.
- Arrange them on a lined tray or baking sheet.
- Flash-freeze until rock solid. Flash-freezing is simply freezing items for a few hours before storage. It prevents items from clamping together into one hard mass, which becomes cumbersome to use in future. It also allows you to pack into separate batches in case you want to use small portions.
- Pack into airtight, Ziploc bags.
A common question that emerges during strawberry storage is, “Can you store strawberries in a Ziploc bag?”
Only use them for long-term storage like freezing because of condensation. When you refrigerate strawberries in Ziploc bags, condensation forms since the fruits are unable to breathe. This leads to softening and mashing. However, freezing eliminates condensation, hence you can safely use Ziploc bags.
Label, date and freeze for future use.
Method 2 – dry pack
- Sort, clean and dry as above.
- Use whole, sliced or chopped strawberries.
- Place ample amount of sugar onto a bowl.
- Rub each fruit well with sugar, ensuring they are well coated on all sides. Dry rubbing with sugar helps to retain flavor and texture.
- Arrange them on a lined tray.
- Flash-freeze for several hours until rock solid.
- Transfer into freezer friendly Ziploc bags.
- Label, date and freeze.
Method 3 – pack in syrup
- Use whole, halved, chopped or mashed strawberries.
- Sort, clean and dry.
- Prepare a simple sugar syrup. The ratio of sugar and water depends on how many strawberries you have as well as your own personal preference on sweetness.
- Simmer the mixture on medium heat. Leave it to reduce into a slightly thick concentrate, not too thick though.
- Allow the syrup to cool.
- Pack strawberries into mason jars, sealable containers or Ziploc bags.
- Pour the syrup into each container, ensuring that all the fruits are well covered. Mix well, either by shaking or stirring.
- Seal well, label and date before freezing.
- Sort and clean as usual.
- Mash strawberries to a pulp.
- You can either mix with sugar or leave them plain.
- Scoop out into ice boxes or individual silicon molds.
- Flash-freeze until hardened.
- Pack them into Ziploc bags. Alternatively, you can freeze each piece separately, although you will have to use many bags for this.
- Label, date and freeze.
Whichever method you choose, maintain optimal freezing temperatures of 0° and below.
Remember to squeeze out trapped air in each bag as you are sealing.
Well frozen strawberries remain in top shape for 1 year or more.
Moisture extraction is an ancient food preservation technique. It is also ideal for storing strawberries without a fridge.
A food dehydrator works best for strawberries. It is also time-saving.
Here is a simple method:
- Sort, clean and dry strawberries well.
- Select uniformly sized ones. Alternatively, half them to ensure effective drying.
- Line the dehydrating trays with paper towels and arrange the fruits on a single layer.
- Set the timer and leave to dehydrate. Keep turning the fruits to ensure all sides dry thoroughly.
- Well dried strawberries are rubbery and crisp.
- Pack them into Ziploc bags or sealable mason jars.
Store unopened containers in a cool, dry, dark place. You can also freeze them.
Refrigerate opened containers.
There are plenty of ways to use these tangy, sharp strawberry jerky or dried strawberries. Munch them as a snack, add chopped ones into your morning cereal bowl, pop into smoothies, salads or baked products.
Although quite technical, canning is effective in preserving strawberries while retaining quality and flavor.
It also reduces wastage when you have abundant supply and don’t know what to do with them.
Additionally, it provides you with numerous options of by-products. For example, you can prepare strawberry jam and chutney through canning.
The traditional canning process involves the use of a canner. However, if you don’t have one at home, a simple hot water bath can do the job.
- Sterilize jars and lids by dipping them in hot water.
- Prepare strawberries – use unblemished, clean ones.
If you are making simple canned strawberries, prepare a syrup solution as discussed above.
Besides sugar and water, you can add spices such as nutmeg, cloves or cinnamon.
- Pack strawberries into jars and pour hot syrup, ensuring they are well immersed in the liquid.
- Leave ample head space on jars – ½ inch is ideal.
- Put lids on and place the jars into the canner or hot water bath.
- Leave them to process for several minutes. The lids should shut tight automatically during processing.
- Place the jars on the counter or pantry for a few days. This allows the contents to marinate well.
If making jam or chutney, the process involves stewing the strawberries first before canning.
- Simply put clean strawberries onto a deep pan.
- Add water, sugar, cornstarch, lemon or lime juice and spices of your choice.
- Stir well and leave to simmer for a while, until the fruits mash into a thick consistency.
- Spoon the contents into mason jars.
- Put lids on and can.
- Once cooled, label, date and store unopened jars in the pantry.
- Refrigerate opened jars.
Canned strawberries last for 1 year.
How to Keep Strawberries Fresh After Cutting
Cutting reduces the shelf life of strawberries – it causes them to dry out and absorb contaminants.
However, you can still keep strawberries fresh after cutting by doing the following:
- Clean and dry well.
- Sprinkle a tiny amount of lemon juice, ensuring the cut sides are well coated.
- Toss well and store in a plastic container.
- Refrigerate and use within a few days.
Final Thoughts on How to Store Strawberries
Strawberries are extremely perishable but versatile. By learning how to store strawberries well, you are guaranteed to enjoy them all year round.