How To Store Strawberries

The internet is filled with videos offering hacks for storing everything from apples to zucchini. Strawberries are no exception. While commonly sold in baskets or plastic clamshell containers, internet pundits claim you can ditch the original packaging and literally add weeks to how long your strawberries will last in the fridge. But are they right?  We spoke to experts to find out if storing strawberries in Mason jars, washing strawberries in a vinegar solution, or storing them with paper towels really are the secrets to long life, if you’re a strawberry anyway.

How To Store Strawberries For The Short Term

According to the FDA you should store perishable fresh fruits including strawberries in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below. Dr. Elizabeth Mitcham, University of California, Davis Professor of Cooperative Extension and Center Director, Postharvest Technology Center says that storing strawberries in the crisper drawer is the best way. In addition, if you can control the humidity of the crisper drawer, set it high for strawberries. 

How to Store Strawberies

Caitlin Bensel

Tips For Storing Strawberries In The Refrigerator

  1. Don’t wash strawberries before storing. According to Mitcham, you shouldn’t wash strawberries before storing them because moisture will promote fungal growth. 
  2. Store in the clamshell. If your strawberries came in a plastic clamshell, that’s the perfect storage container because it allows for some humidity. Those green plastic baskets have sharp edges and can bruise berries. 
  3. Plan to use the strawberries in a few days. Strawberries are best when fresh so keep them cool and remove any berries that develop mold.

Caitlin Bensel

Common Questions About Storing Strawberries

Should you store strawberries in a Mason-style jar?

No. According to Leah Sarris, a spokesperson for the California Strawberry Commission, while it’s probably meant to prevent moisture, it can also trap moisture. She wouldn’t recommend it because it’s awkward to get them out and piling them on top of each other is more likely to bruise them. Mitcham adds that strawberries do benefit from some carbon dioxide to reduce fungal growth, so if you have a container that lets oxygen out, that’s worthwhile.

Do strawberries need to be refrigerated?

Yes. Unless you are planning on eating them in the next hour or so they should be refrigerated to preserve freshness.

How long do strawberries last in the refrigerator?

Experts say you should plan to use them within a week. If you want to keep them longer, freeze them.

Will washing strawberries with a vinegar solution help preserve them?

According to Mitcham, some research has been done on this subject and while there is some efficacy there isn’t a lot. It won’t remove enough bacteria to prevent you from getting sick and the research was done with straight vinegar, not what you get at the supermarket which has even lower acidity. She also shares that washing in vinegar has no impact on fungi and that most fungal infections are below the surface anyway, so you won’t be able to eradicate them with vinegar or anything else topical.

Will storing strawberries with paper towels make a difference? 

Probably not. According to Mitcham, the main reason paper towels can be helpful is with excess moisture, which shouldn’t be an issue if you’re keeping them dry and not washing them until using them.

What’s the proper way to wash strawberries?

According to the FDA and all our experts agree, you should wash the berries under cool running water.

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