Keeping Berries Fresh

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

Very easy way to extend the life of berries -- it's about doubled how long they last for me.  All it takes is a little vinegar and a paper towel.

I recently learned a trick to keep berries fresh longer — vinegar and a paper towel!

Rinse berries in a 1:10 solution of vinegar (white or cider) to water, then drain and let dry completely before bagging with a paper towel.  Leave the tops on strawberries.

Getting the berries as dry as possible before bagging is critical.  If you put them back into the bag slightly wet, they are still likely to rot.  Putting a paper towel down in the bottom of the bag, then placing the berries in, seems to really help.  A day or two later, I remove the paper towel, which has soaked up the last few drips of water.

Just the vinegar rinse helped my berries some, but adding the paper towel really upped the longevity (and yes, I tried just the paper towel without the vinegar and it also didn’t do nearly as well as the combination).  Thanks to my neighbor Linda who told me about this when she gave me a bag of strawberries from her garden!

I have always rinsed berries when I bring them home so that they’re ready to eat, but adding some vinegar to the water has really made a difference in how long they last.  I’m guessing it’s nearly doubled how long I can keep them.

In case you’re wondering — no, I can’t taste the vinegar at all once the berries have dried.

Doing a little bit of checking online, apparently the mildly acidic vinegar solution kills any mold or mildew that may be starting to develop.  In Mexico, I always used a very mild bleach solution to rinse my produce and kill any bacteria so I wondered if that would also help the life of berries (we rarely had fresh berries there so I didn’t remember).  Tried it and the bleach didn’t seem to help at all.  Okay, I learned a science lesson:  bleach is alkaline and vinegar acidic, so it must be something specific about using a very mild acid.

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  1. Not quite sure how that “Happy New Year” got there. Autocorrect? Oh well have a fantastic day!

  2. Just bought some strawberries at the produce market, will try this! Thanks!

  3. Carolyn, Did you mean 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water?

  4. Vinegar is great for lots of things… perhaps another article Carolyn. And so much better to use a food chemical than a cleaning product.

  5. Kathy Moore says:

    Are you storing the berries in a zip lock bag or the green bags?

  6. C. C. MacNair says:

    Good idea on using vinegar because of the acid content. In my younger days I used acid and today at 64 most people think I am in my 50’s !!! LOL

  7. The best way to keep berries fresh is to eat them faster than they spoil!!!!

  8. Using a “Salad Spinner” very gently is another good way to dry the berries after the vinegar/water rinse.

  9. It also works very well with raspberries. I rinse them as you mentioned with the vinegar water and let them dry. I put them back in the same plastic container I bought them in. I do add the paper towel to the bottom of the container. It is amazing how much longer they last. So simple.

  10. You always have the best information!

  11. You really don’t want to rinse at all until you’re ready to eat them.

  12. Eat them faster. Problem solved. *grin*

  13. This is definitely information we can use!

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