The sweetness of summertime berries is worth waiting all winter for, and they’re the perfect addition to so many recipes, or just eaten by the handful. So how do you make them last and prevent moldy disappointments? It starts with proper cleaning and storage.
Whether you bought a basket at the farmer’s market or hand-picked them yourself, you can store berries in the fridge or freezer. Use these instructions and helpful tips from our test kitchen to get the most out of your strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
Fresh from the Fridge
Berries typically keep in the fridge for two to seven days, depending on the type of berry. Generally, the more fragile the berry, the shorter it will keep. Here’s how to get the maximum shelf life:
- Wait to wash berries until just before you are ready to use them.
- Keep them in their original container so they can breathe at around 32-34°F.
- Keep your berries dry. If they look too crowded or humid, you may want to lay a paper towel under the berries in the bottom of the container.
- When ready to eat, rinse gently under cool water.
Freeze Now, Enjoy Later
Preserve your bounty of berries for months – 8 to 12 to be exact – in the freezer by following these easy steps.
- Rinse them in cool water as you would before serving berries stored in the fridge, then lay them on paper towels in a single layer to dry completely.
- Freeze in a single layer for 1 hour.
- Then add the frozen berries to an airtight container to store in the freezer.
- Defrost berries in the refrigerator for several hours, or use them still frozen for smoothies and baked goods.
Note: Most berries, like raspberries, strawberries and blackberries can be stored in the freezer for 8 to 12 months when freezer is 0F(-18C). Blueberries can be stored in the freezer for up to 10 months.
Do’s & Don’ts
- Do let your berries get closer to room temperature before serving to enhance their natural flavors.
- Do take the time to freeze your berries in a single layer first. This makes it easier to remove berries and measure for a recipe.
- Do add frozen berries directly to batters - it helps prevent the batter from streaking and changing color. Recipes might need to be adjusted if using frozen berries.
- Do store frozen berries mixed together for easy smoothies.
- Don’t store your berries in the crisper drawers of your fridge. They are too humid for sensitive berries.
- Don’t wash blueberries before freezing – washing causes their skin to toughen.
- Don’t forget - all frozen berries lose their firmness after freezing.