While I adore everything that spring has to offer (minus the incessant pollen), it’s the arrival of strawberries that brings me the most joy. They show up at my farmers market right when I’ve reached peak winter clementine fatigue and I am starting to feel hopeless about fresh fruit.
Due to my excitement (and some lack of self control), I overbuy. Not only do I overbuy at the farmers market and grocery store, but I also drag friends and family to the pick-your-own farm to over-pick with me, too. It’s only when I’ve carted all my berries home that I remember that strawberries spoil quickly and if I don’t do something to mitigate that, my habit will have cost me not just disappointment, but precious pennies.
Rather than turn my whole haul into jam, I’ve discovered countless hacks on Instagram and TikTok to prolong the life of fresh strawberries. Friends, I’ve tried them all.
Rinsing them in salt water, not rinsing them at all and placing them in an airtight container, tucking them inside a salad spinner, and simply just storing the carton of berries in the refrigerator as-is. None have been true game-changers.
Then I came across a rather strange technique: Wash your strawberries in a mixture of vinegar and water to help keep them fresh for longer. I worried it would leave my precious berries tasting like vinegar, but I was willing to give it a try in the name of science (and my wallet). To my very pleasant surprise, it worked brilliantly.
How to Wash Strawberries With Vinegar and Water
Combine one part of distilled white vinegar with three parts of cold water in a large bowl. Add your fresh whole strawberries with their green tops still on and swish them around in the solution. The water will get a bit brown and yucky, but that’s a good thing because it means you’re really cleaning the berries.
Pour the berries through a colander set in the sink to drain. Then rinse them well with fresh, cold water to remove any lingering vinegar solution on the surface of the fruit. Pour them out onto a clean dish towel and gently pat them completely dry. Store the washed and dried strawberries in a paper towel-lined sealable container. Here’s another trick: Don’t close the lid. Keep the lid loosely placed on top to allow any excess moisture to escape. Moisture makes the strawberries go bad faster. Store the strawberries in the refrigerator.
What’s the magic behind this technique? The vinegar kills any bacteria and mold spores on the strawberries that make them go bad quickly, helping them stay fresh longer. Rather than the berries starting to soften and mold quickly, I’ve been able to keep them fresh for an entire week, and sometimes even longer!