When I head to the produce department at my grocery store, I always feel called to the sweet smell of plump, luscious strawberries.
While I often have the best intentions of eating them with cream, making tarts, jam or in a shortcake, more often than not I find them in my fridge with that white fuzz growing and have to bin the basket. What I learned last summer was a good enough tip that I'm sharing it again this year in the hopes that I can save you from throwing out the tasty fruit we all love but often waste.
I found a simple four-step hack that has seen the life expectancy of my strawberries go from mere days to weeks. Yes, I said weeks. You do need to do it soon after your return from the store and have a few everyday ingredients but the payoff will be worthwhile. Not only will you be able to actually enjoy your strawberries, but you will be saving money by not wasting them! Strawberries are jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and magnesium and make the perfect guilt free snack, when not smothered in ice cream.
What you will need is water, vinegar, a bowl, a mesh strainer, a colander, or a salad spinner, some paper towels, and a large plate. Did I mention strawberries? You will need them too!
Place your strawberries into a large bowl.
Add one part vinegar to five parts water to the berries in the bowl. In example, add one half cup of vinegar to two and a half cups of water with one pint of water. Gently stir the strawberries and water so you mix in the vinegar and water making sure not to cause damage. Then let them soak for five minutes.
My sister uses apple cider vinegar and does not find it affects the taste but I prefer white vinegar. It's cheaper and I can notice a difference in taste between the two. Most people say there is no residual flavor from the vinegar at all at the end of the process.
Drain the strawberries using your strainer or colander and place your strawberries on a bed of paper towels to dry for at least 20 minutes.
When you feel like they are dry enough, place them in the container of your choice and store in the refrigerator.
While I like the paper towel on a plate method of drying strawberries, my sister likes to put them on a cookie tray. Play around and choose the methos that works best for you. The main thing to remember is that you want the berries to be as dry as possible without having them actually dry out.
You might want to consider getting an aerated or vented container if you don't already have one. It isn't required, but I picked one up and it works wonders. If you don't have a special container like that and don't want one, you can simply keep them on the plate in the refrigerator. I have also washed and dried the berry basked they came in and used that. All methods will work.
Do not cut off the stems of your strawberries, doing so will extend their shelf life.
If you notice any moldy or spoiled strawberries remove them ASAP, that mold will spread to the rest quickly.
The vinegar wash can be used on trawberries, blueberries, and even blackberries too. It will not work on raspberries.
If this hack seems too good to be true, then let me explain to you why it works. In layman's terms, the vinegar safely kills off mold spores that sad to say, are already growing on your beautiful berries. Thank you science!