July 26, 2014

How To Extend the Life of Berries by Weeks


The wisdom of generations that have gone before us need to be passed on, but often, those wonderful little tips are lost, especially kitchen tips.  Passed down from my mom to me, I know that this is one of those jewels.

During my 80% off Living talks,  I share ideas to save money on food  and often give this simple tip to extend the life of berries by weeks.

With strawberry season in full force, I’m already frustrated with myself that I allowed berries to mold just because I didn’t take my own advice : a simple vinegar and water bath.

We all know that vinegar is one of the best all natural and frugal cleaners around. It kills any kind of bacteria or spores on contact,  so apply the same principle to our berries. The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit.

As soon as you come home with your berries,  resist putting them in your fridge and just do a simple vinegar wash first. Prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) with five parts water.

Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse them with water, dry and put in fridge. I promise, they won’t taste like vinegar. Make sure they are completely dry before storing them in the fridge, that is the magic secret. Since strawberries are more firm, you can easily use a salad spinner to help spin the water, but raspberries will mush in there, so just gently lay them out on a towel and pat dry.

Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries can go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft.

Take advantage of all the great stock up prices right now knowing they’ll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them or bake with them or freeze them for another time.

Do you have any great tips for extending your produce? There are some great ideas in the comments on the saving money on produce post.

I’ve been cooking up a storm in the kitchen this week and I love additional inspiration. I can’t wait to see what you are sharing for Tasty Tuesday this week. Make sure you link up to your exact recipe url and link back to my blog in your post. Then share the comment love with others. :)


  1. Thanks for sharing this tip! I have avoided buying berries unless I knew I had an immediate use for them. I’m the only one that eats them in my family so they tend to go bad before I get them all eaten. I will definitely give this a try!

    Jen Reply:

    @Nettie, I sure hope it works for you and you are the only one who eats strawberries in your family? Oh, they are missing out, aren’t they? :)

  2. Great tip. Now I need a new refrigerator that can hold more than my kids can eat in a week!

    Jen Reply:

    @Shaina, Exactly Shaina – I am in the same position, for suRE!!

  3. This is awesome to know. We LOVE fresh strawberries and often if I buy a flat (8 boxes) I can get them for $2.50 each. Love knowing how to keep them fresh longer so that we don’t have to frantically eat them hoping they don’t go bad. :)

  4. This is the best kitchen tips I’ve heard in a long time. Thanks for sharing. We just canned about 20 pounds of dewberries (wild blackberries) that we picked a few weeks ago.

    Jen Reply:

    And isn’t it funny because I have been sharing it verbally but never put it on the blog. I need to start going through all my notes from my workshops and adding those kind of things in here. :)

  5. Vinegar is so useful! Thank you for sharing this really useful tip, and thank you for hosting. This week I’ve shared Coronation Chicken, a version of which was served at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. We are celebrating the 60 year anniversary of that event here in England this week :)

    Jen Reply:

    @April @ The 21st Century Housewife, 60 years since her coronation? WOW!! I went to school in England for a semester at the height of Charles and Diana and still have so much memorabilia from that time.

  6. I’ve been using this trick on my strawberries the last several weeks, and you’re right, they don’t get moldy before we can eat them! I don’t rinse the vinegar before letting the berries dry and putting them in the refrigerator. They seem to be ok that way. I’ll have to try your way and see if there’s a difference. :)

  7. Erin in CO says:

    This is great! Just washed my strawberries and blueberries I got at the store last night….does anyone know if this trick works for cherries as well?

    Jen Reply:

    It can’t hurt to try. Let me know. I would assume it would because the vinegar will kill the bacteria on those as well. The berries are more porous so it might work better with those.

    Erin in CO Reply:

    @Jen, Update! Tried it with the cherries and so far, so good! I went ahead and pitted them to be easier for the kids to eat, but next time I would probably just wash them in the vinegar and leave them to be pitted as we need them. The ones I noticed that were squishy when I washed them are still squishy, but not any more than when I washed…and the others are still nice and firm, so I think they are holding up pretty well! I’ll definitely be doing this method with all my soft fruits/berries! Thanks for the tip!!

  8. I tried this but they got soggy! Maybe because I didn’t let them dry before putting them in the fridge… will try again!

    Jen Reply:

    Oh bummer. I hate that! Yes, it’s because they were wet. The key is to make sure they are dry.

  9. I’ve been doing this for months and it works great! I even go to the trouble of cutting the stems off the strawberries before I store them to make it easier for the hubby to use them in making smoothies. The last batch lasted 17 days! And they were still firm and tasty!

    Jen Reply:

    AWESOME!!! Yes, getting them smoothie ready is perfect. I’ve started making my own Smoothie mixtures for the freezer so they are ready to dump.

  10. Hey Jen! How are you? It’s been TOO LONG since I’ve seen you. I got to have lunch with Emily one day, and I was reminded that the distance between Durham and Greensboro is just not very great. I need to plan an event at my house and invite y’all over, I think! :)

    Hope you have a wonderful week. I’m joining your Tasty Tuesday party and I’m glad to be here–and I pinned your berry tip. I have NEVER heard that tip before, but it makes perfect sense!

    Jen Reply:

    @Richella @ Imparting Grace, Sweet, sweet Richella – Definitely, we must all meet for lunch someday soon. I would LOVE to get caught up with you. :)

  11. I do this every time I buy strawberries. Most especially when they’re 99c for a lb. At the farmeR’s market.. What I also do is cut off any mushy/bruised spot .great website, by the way!

  12. Wow I’ve never heard of this, but guaranteed I will try it!

  13. Thanks for sharing this great tip for extending the life of berries!

  14. Since finding this Pin: I’ve been rinsing all my fruit this way, and it really does make a huge difference.
    As for drying delicate berries, America’s Test Kitchen recommends lining your salad spinner with paper towels before adding the berries. Works like a charm, especially for raspberries.

    Jen Reply:

    Yep, I think it’s that little piece of wisdom our grandmas have been doing and not until I mentioned it at a conference and someone said , “is it on your blog,” did I realize I never shared it. :)

    Antonella Reply:


    Thanks for this useful tip! I was wondering how to dry properly strawberries and such.
    Do I need a salad spinner? Can I dry them on a towel?

    ps Have you seen this book? http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42868
    Is a free 1917 lovely read with many tips of our grandmothers’wisdom in the kitchen.
    Hope you like it :-)

    Jen Reply:

    thank you, thank you for pointing out that book. I can’t wait to go look at it. :)

    Antonella Reply:

    glad you like it, I find it soo charming :-)

    Patty Reply:

    It’s certainly not necessary to have a salad spinner, but with all the nooks & crannies in blackberries & raspberries, it certainly makes the job faster. You could certainly dry them on a towel, rolling them around a bit as you do so.
    Thanks for sharing the link to the book. I’m anxious to peruse it.

    Antonella Reply:

    @Patty, thanks a lot for the info. No more wasted berries! :-)

  15. I will do this! I also store berries between layers of paper towel which has also extended the frig life.

  16. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m buying lots of strawberries these days, so anything to help keep them fresh for longer will be great!! Can’t wait to try this out. :-)

    Jen Reply:

    Yes, every little thing helps, doesn’t it? Once one goes bad, it spreads so quickly to the rest, so I love this trick.


  1. [...] Click here to read the full article, but it basically boils down to a quick vinegar and water dunk for the berries before they go into the fridge for storage! [...]

  2. [...] heard about this trick to keep strawberries fresh longer several times, but I always forget to try it! Hopefully I’ll remember to do it in the next [...]

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