I’m first in line to buy a basket of raspberries when they grace my local farmers market. Sometimes I’ll even buy them at the grocery store in the off-season. I’m a huge fan of these sweet-tart berries.
And that’s why it’s the worst when I place them in the fridge to top my yogurt with granola the next morning, only to find some have gone mushy. Why do plump, juicy-looking raspberries go bad so quickly? Are there any tricks for storing them so that they don’t get mushy and gross? I reached out to raspberry experts to find out.
What To Look For When Buying Raspberries
The color of the raspberry should guide your selection. “Ensure that most of the raspberries are the same color in the container (so) that some will not rot before the rest,” says Rebekah Alstede Modery, second-generation owner of Alstede Farms in New Jersey. A consistent color means the berries have a similar ripeness.
Pay attention to the shape of the berries, too. “Look for well-shaped, bright orange/red raspberries,” says Brian Bocock, Naturipe Farms Vice President of Product Management. “The best raspberries have plump cells and appear to have an almost sheen to them.”
Visiting a U-pick farm? “Raspberries should easily fall off the stem without any resistance,” says Modery. “They should be a medium shade of pink without being too deep purple or white.”
The second best to harvest them yourself is to buy them at the farmers market. “Farmers like ourselves, harvest our raspberries the morning that they are sold,” says Modery. “This ensures that we are harvesting them at their ripest and selling them on the same day with limited time in storage.”
Moist Conditions Cause Raspberries To Get Mushy
Raspberries are delicate and most sensitive to moisture. Similar to blueberries, raspberries won’t continue to ripen after they’ve been picked. “If they are harvested too early, they will not get sweeter, only darker in color and start to mold if they are in moist conditions,” says Modery.
Take a close look at the container that’s holding the raspberries. “Avoid any containers that look like there has been moisture built-up—this will make it quicker for mold to reproduce,” she says.
If there is moisture in and around the container, I’d avoid buying them. If they get wet at home, transfer the raspberries into a dry bowl lined with paper towels.
The Best Way To Store Raspberries
One of the easiest ways to ensure your raspberries don’t get too mushy too soon is to store them properly. “Put your raspberries in the refrigerator as soon as you get home,” says Bocock. “Keep them there until you’re ready to eat them.”
Do not wash the berries until you’re ready to enjoy them. Modery adds, “Keep them as dry as possible so they do not mold too quickly.”
When To Wash Raspberries
I like to wash and prepare my produce when I arrive home so everything is ready to go when I want to make a meal. Raspberries are an exception because moisture can cause them to get mushy.
“Wait until you’re ready to eat them to wash them, as excess moisture can cause them to go mushy faster,” says Bocock.
If you’re not sure you’ll indulge in the whole container, wash them as you go. “We recommend washing them in smaller handfuls so the portion you are saving for later doesn’t get wet and will last longer in the fridge,” he says.