How to Keep Strawberries Fresh for Up to a Week

Prevent dreaded moldy strawberries with these expert storage tips.

<p>Ian Laker Photography / Getty Images</p>

Ian Laker Photography / Getty Images

Strawberries can be hard to resist – juicy and versatile, these ruby red fruits are so satisfying to snack on, mix into a salad, or bake a whole shortcake for. But we all know the disappointment of a soggy strawberry in the fridge, sadly past its prime, inedible and ready for the compost.

Both conventional and organic strawberries can last anywhere from three days to a week, but storing them properly can help keep them fresh and enjoyable for as long as possible. Here’s how to store strawberries this summer for the tastiest possible results.

Related: 21 Sweet and Tangy Strawberry Cake Recipes

How to shop for strawberries

“We recommend choosing berries that have a bright red color with minimal discoloration, a natural shine, strong and sweet smell, and fresh-looking green caps,” says Frances Dillard, vice president of marketing at Driscoll’s. “Avoid brown patches and remember strawberries don’t ripen after being picked.” That is, if your strawberries look underripe, they’ll stay that way, unlike, say, green bananas, which ripen and deepen in color on your countertop.

Don’t worry about the size— strawberry size is a personal preference and doesn’t indicate what a strawberry will taste like when you bite into it.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are strawberries in season?

Strawberry season varies from region to region, but in most of the country runs from mid-may to early July, peaking in June. In warmer areas like Florida, local strawberries might be available as early as February.

How long do strawberries last?

Depending on the size, ripeness, and how they’re stored, strawberries can last in the fridge for around three days to one week.

Do strawberries need to be refrigerated?

Unless you plan on eating them or cooking with them within the hour, you should refrigerate strawberries immediately to preserve their freshness.

The best way to store strawberries

“Always refrigerate your berries immediately and keep them as dry as possible,” says Dillard.

Most strawberries are sprayed with pesticides, so you definitely want to wash them — but not immediately. Since strawberries absorb water easily, your best bet for keeping them fresh is to wash right before eating or cooking. If you do wash them before storing, be sure to pat with a paper towel or clean dish towel and allow to fully dry before storing. Keep the stems on and don’t cut into a strawberry until you’re ready to enjoy it. To prevent spoilage, we suggest storing strawberries in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet or in a shallow bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a lid. However, you can also return them to the original container (or use this dedicated storage container designed to keep produce fresh).

Related: These Strawberries Cost $780 — Are They Worth It?

“When you’re ready to use them, strawberries can be best enjoyed by gently rinsing them under cool water, with the leaves and stems still on,” says Dillard. “After washing, remove the green leaves and stems.”

One more thing: As irresistible as strawberries are at peak season, you don’t want to eat them straight out of the fridge. “It’s important for strawberries to reach room temperature before serving, which will enhance their natural flavors,” says Dillard.

Strawberries that have softened should still be good to eat. If you dislike the texture, consider baking with them or blending them into smoothies. Strawberries with mold spots should be discarded.

How to freeze strawberries

Overenthusiastic in your strawberry purchases? Or want to preserve your strawberry harvest past summer? You can freeze or preserve strawberries to enjoy for months to come.

To freeze strawberries, wash and dry the fruit, remove the green tops, and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, for about an hour. Then, transfer to a sealed bag or container and enjoy within three months. For a fun frozen treat, consider making strawberry mango paletas, Mexican popsicles that are easy to pop out of the freezer. Homemade strawberry gelato is another delicious way to extend your strawberries’ natural life in the freezer. Fresh or frozen strawberries can also easily be turned into a delicious jam, like our Strawberry Vanilla Rhubarb Jam.

Related: 16 Sweet and Savory Jam Recipes

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