It’s Strawberry Season, one of my favorite times of the year. Some of my fondest summertime memories involve freshly picked strawberries and my Grandmother. Every summer, Grandma and I would go pick strawberries together at a local berry farm. Afterwards, she would take the berries home and make all sorts of delicious strawberry-inspired goodies for our family to enjoy. Strawberry Jam. Strawberry Pie. Strawberry Shortcake. Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream. No wonder I grew up loving strawberry season so much!
I was so excited to find these beautiful berries waiting for our family in last week’s basket, sweet and bursting with the first taste of summer. After some careful consideration, we decided to enjoy our first batch of the season in its simplest form: washed and straight out of the carton. They were delicious and left me excited for this week’s share.
Whether you plan to eat the whole carton out of hand, or you have a stack of your favorite recipes ready and waiting to be put to use, storing your berries properly will help ensure that they hold up long enough for you and your family to enjoy them. There is nothing more disappointing than finding a basket of moldy berries soon after bringing them home!
3 Rules for Storing Strawberries
- Wash as you go.
Wash strawberries only before eating them. This is important for two reasons. Strawberries are like sponges, so once wet, they soak up every bit of moisture, making them more likely to get mushy and spoil faster. Also, wet berries are more apt to get moldy.
- Leave the stems on as long as possible.
Keeping the stems on until you’re about to eat the strawberries will prolong their shelf life.
- Don’t let one berry spoil the whole bunch.
If you notice any moldy berries in the container, remove them immediately. Mold spreads easily, so it’s best to remove any spoiled berries before they ruin the rest of the bunch.
As for where to store strawberries, it all depends on when you plan to use them.
3 Places to Store Strawberries
- Right away? Store on the countertop.
If you plan to use strawberries the day you bring them home, there’s no need to put them in the refrigerator. You can leave them at room temperature on the kitchen counter.
- Tomorrow? In the refrigerator.
If you don’t plan to eat your strawberries the day you bring them home, the best place for them is in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. It helps to maintain humidity and keep the berries from losing moisture and becoming dry.
Remove the berries from their original container, and store them whole and unwashed in a partially-closed container lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture, preferably in a single layer so they don’t get crushed. They should last up to five to seven days.
- This winter? In the freezer.
If you don’t have plans to use strawberries within a few days of bringing them home, your best bet is to freeze them. Remove the stems, halve or slice them if you like, then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet until solid. Store in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
And just in case you find yourself searching for the perfect strawberry recipe, here are a few of my favorites to check out and get you started. Enjoy!
Sarah Young is a wife, mother of three, Certified Health Education Specialist, and healthy living advocate. She has a background in Dietetics and a B.S. in Health, Fitness, and Recreational Resources with a concentration in Health Promotion. She is also a writer for several local and online publications, an ambassador for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, and a health contributor for ABC 7 News/WJLA. In her spare time, she enjoys running, hiking, gardening, and spending time with her family and their dog, Maple.