Food Hacks: How to Keep Berries Fresh in 5 Minutes or Less

by JJ Virgin on June 20, 2017

I love fresh organic berries. They taste great, plus they're packed full of fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants.

I eat berries nearly every day. I'll throw them in my loaded smoothie to break my fast, and then maybe have a handful with lunch or dinner.

But how do you keep these little superfood nuggets from going bad before you get to gobble them up?

Here’s a few easy tips to get the most out of the berry harvest and your grocery budget.

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For Blueberries, Strawberries, and Blackberries

When you get firmer berries like blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries home, the key is to kill any mold spores on the fruit. That will keep your berries fresh for days, even weeks longer!

Step 1  Fill a bowl or salad spinner with 2 cups cold water and 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar. Pour in your fresh berries, and swirl around gently for about 30 seconds to remove any dirt. Then let your berries sit in the vinegar water for about 2 minutes.

Step 2  While the berries soak, rinse the plastic clamshell container they came in with hot, soapy water to remove any mold spores or bacteria. Dry the clamshell thoroughly, and line it with a paper towel or thin dish towel.

Step 3  Remove your berries from their vinegar bath, rinse with cold water, and then dry them. Return the rinsed, dried berries to their clean, towel-lined container and store them in your refrigerator until you’re ready to dive in.

Curious how it works? That brief exposure to the acid in vinegar is enough to adjust the berries’ pH on the outside so mold can’t survive, but not long enough to change their taste at all. All it takes is 5 minutes effort to extend the life of your berries by days!

For Raspberries

There’s nothing worse than wasting food, especially if you’re paying for organic fresh berries. Sometimes, I think my raspberries get moldy on the trip home from the grocery store!

The secret is to keep them as dry and cold as possible. Unlike firmer berries, raspberries should never be washed until just before serving. Otherwise, the extra moisture will cause them to mold.

Instead, when you get them home, empty the berries into a dry strainer and discard any moldy ones. Then rinse the plastic clamshell container they came in with hot, soapy water; dry it thoroughly; and line it with a paper towel or thin dish towel.

Return your raspberries to their original package and refrigerate them in the coldest, driest part of your refrigerator – usually at the back of the bottom shelf.

(Just don’t forget they’re there! I’ve been known to list the fresh produce in my fridge on a sticky note on the door, so I don’t forget what’s hiding in drawers or at the back…)

Right before serving, wash your raspberries – rinsing well with distilled water can remove as much as 50% of pesticides.1

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The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.