It’s a question I’m asked all the time, “What is the best way to store fresh strawberries?” The answer: “well, it depends!”, do you want long term or short term storage? Do you just want to keep your strawberries fresher longer? Well, read on because I’m going to answer all of these questions!
First up, Keeping them fresh as long as possible
How do you make strawberries last longer in the refrigerator?
Don’t you hate when you buy fresh strawberries but they are seemingly rotten within days?
Well, it turns out you can prevent that, and it’s super easy! So stop throwing your money away with those rotten berries and let’s get learning.
Turns out that soaking your strawberries in vinegar and water will keep them fresh for weeks. Yes, I said Weeks. Isn’t that incredible? I took a double-take when reading that – because I just couldn’t believe it!
But as it turns out, it’s true! This is how it’s done:
- Step One: Get some regular vinegar and mix with 10 parts of water
- Step Two: Add your strawberries (full, washed, and un-sliced) into the water/vinegar mixture for 2 whole minutes, let them get to know each other.
- Step Three: Drain those berries and place them on paper towels or a drying rack. Let them sit there for an entire 20 minutes. Don’t rinse them off.
- Step Four: Place in perforated berry container. Do not store in an airtight container. If you don’t have one, Go ahead and get some rage out stabbing some Tupperware with a knife.
I suppose it probably won’t hurt to rinse them off, it shouldn’t affect anything. But I don’t, so that’s going to be my recommendation. Don’t worry, theirs no taste of vinegar, And worst case you can just rinse them off when you are ready to eat them if you worried!
So why vinegar anyway? It’s actually a really simple reason, It kills mold spores. So really I suppose anything that can kill mold spores will work as long as it’s edible! So for those who are inventive, Why not try some high proof aged alcohols as well? Who know’s, it might taste incredible!
Here are some alternatives you can use to vinegar:
- Bacardi 151 proof
- Devils Spring Vodka
- Stroh Rum
- Sunset Valley rum
- And more! Check out a full list here
Ok, So you asked what is the best way to store fresh strawberries, and we talked about extending their freshness in the fridge. But what about even longer term strategies? Well we can’t keep them in the fridge forever, so let’s look at the longer term preservation methods now.
How to dehydrate strawberries in a food dehydrator
If you’ve ever read any of my articles you would know dehydrating things is my favorite method of preservation, Aside from freeze-drying of course. But that’s out of my budget and most likely anyone reading this. But if you think you can handle it, Here you go. Unfortunately, I have no affiliate link for this! Know what I do have an affiliate link for? This nice, affordable dehydrator. Buy it, It’s fantastic.
Anyway, Dehydrating strawberries is super easy, let’s get started.
- Wash your strawberries
This step is vital, You HAVE to wash your strawberries. You can even use the above vinegar method to do it. But no matter what you choose, wash your damn strawberries. All that dirt, bug poop, and mold spores can cause your dehydrated product to go bad faster. Plus, It’s not very appetizing, is it?
- Remove the core and the leaves
You can’t dehydrate your strawberries with those cores in there. So you have to remove them. To do this, simply cut a circle in the top of the strawberry with a sharp paring knife, angling the blade so the cuts meet at the bottom. Then just pull out the leaf and stem.
- Slice up your strawberries
This part is pretty self-explanatory. It’s not like you can dehydrate a full strawberry and hope it works out! At least, Not without other special preparations. But for the sake of simplicity, we’re going to slice them.
Try to slice in as even pieces as you can. You should try to aim for 1/8th inch to 1/4 inch in thickness, Of course, this might be a challenge depending on the size of your berries. The main thing to remember is to keep them as uniform as possible so they all dry at the same time.
- Now it’s time to put them in the dehydrator
It’s all comes down to this moment. All that hard prep, coring, making your apron look like you just butchered an animal. Well, it was worth it. Let’s get these bad boys dehydtratin’.
Place your sliced strawberries on the trays with about 1/2 to 1 inch of space surrounding them. Don’t overload your trays, the air needs to be able to get threw!
Set your dehydrator to 135F / 58C. It should take about 10 hours to dry all the strawberries to a leather-like consistency. If you want them to be crisp and crumble like a potato chip, keep them in for an extra 4 hours.
Remember, depending on the dehydrator you are usin’ for dehydratin’ (sorry), Make sure you shift the trays around half way threw.
This will make sure all the strawberries are getting the same amount of hot air time and usually the fan is only on the bottom, or the top, not both. This depends on your model of course.
Another thing to keep in mind is when you are testing your berries to see if they are dry enough. You must let them cool down for at least 30 minutes before being able to see if they are actually dry.
Warm things always feel dryer than they really are. Just leave them cool down in the dehydrator, no need to remove them in case you need to put them back in for a bit longer.
Optional step, Conditioning
You don’t have to do this but it may help keep them fresher longer. Place your dried strawberries into a mason jar about 2/3 full. Shake the jar a few times a day for a week. If moisture shows up on the jar its time to go back into the dehydrator. That should answer your question “what is the best way to store fresh strawberries”, but what if you don’t have a dehydrator?
Dehydrating strawberries in oven
Basically, buy a dehydrator. Article done see you all later.
Just kidding. But you really should consider it. Anyway, all the steps are basically the same as above, there’s a couple difference tho.
- Follow the steps above for dehydration inside a dehydrator, with some exceptions:
- Dry them off after slicing
- Lay them out on parchment sheet lined pan
- preheat oven to 350f
- reduce heat to 200f
- If your oven doesn’t go that low, crack the door open and prop it open with something none flammable. Also, lock animals and children away from the kitchen as it’s dangerous to have your oven open like this.
- Check and flip every 15 minutes or so
- The total time will vary.
Simple is as simple does, Just buy a dehydrator. The amount of money you are burning in electricity every time you try and dehydrate something in your oven is the same as just buying a dehydrator. Just throwing that out there.
Canning whole strawberries
When asked What Is the best way to store fresh Strawberries it’s obvious I would have to bring this one up. We all know about jams and jellies, But did you know you can also can entire whole strawberries? Yes, it’s true!
These are great for pie fillings, on top of cakes, tarts, and all sorts of other baked goodies!
It’s a simple process, and it only requires 2 ingredients. Strawberries obviously, and a bit of sugar (And sugar is optional! So really, this could be a canning strawberry without sugar method!).
Each large jar will hold approximately 2 pounds of fresh whole cored strawberries. Make sure you have large enough jars for what you are working with.
First, you need to core your strawberries, You can read how to do that above, or click this anchor text.
Put all your washed and cored strawberries into a bowl and sprinkle them with sugar. A fair amount but don’t worry too much about overdoing it.
Let them sit in their sugar brine for at least 8 hours, 6 minimum. This gives the time strawberries need to really get to know themselves in their own juices, So the flavors don’t get washed out during the canning process
Now that your strawberry has sweated out some juice and self marinated, It’s time to get the water bath ready. You can also use a pressure canner, but you will have to look up the instructions for it as this article won’t cover that.
While your water bath is heating up, go ahead and stick your strawberries into a pot, brine and all, And bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 1 minute just so they are nice and cozy, Than immediately place them inside the canning jars and pour excess strawberry sugar brine on top of them.
The headspace rules for whole strawberries is 1/2 an inch. Generally, the rule to canning is nothing else enters the jar except what’s being jarred. However, I’ve found a sterilized metal chopstick works great for removing air bubbles inside the jar.
On the other hand, so does gently swishing it around. So use your own judgment. In any case, remove bubbles.
Wipe the rims like you normally would, and place your lids on-top of the cans, screw-on lightly. You will tighten them up when they are finished cooking and pop.
Your berries may shrivel a bit during cooking so keep that in mind when you are filling them as well.
Sugarless strawberry canning
If you want to do the sugarless method, boil a bit of water and a few strawberries until some juice has been appropriated. Replace your sugar brine with that.
Freezing your strawberries
Freezing strawberries in sugar
Freezing strawberries is probably the second easiest thing on this list aside from dunking them in vinegar. It makes for a delicious easy method, however, it’s still freezing which sucks so that’s at the bottom of the list!
Anyway, here you go, How to freeze strawberries in sugar.
Wash your berries under running water, don’t soak them if you don’t want them to lose flavor.
How you prepare your berries are up to you, as they can be frozen in several ways, whole, crushed, sliced, sugared and none sugared, etc. Since we’re mostly focusing on whole strawberries in this article, we will consider those in the instructions for the sugarless variety, And sliced in half for the sugar recipe.
Slice your freshly washed berries in half. For 1 quart of strawberries, use 1/2 a cup of sugar. Stir the mixture together until it’s dissolved away.
Once complete, simply place them into a freezer-safe airtight container and stick ’em in the freezer.
Yeah, that’s it. Trust me the no sugar method isn’t much more interesting, so lets goooooo.
How to freeze strawberries without sugar
This is for full berries that haven’t been cut yet. Wash under running water like above, then place them laid out on a cookie sheet and freeze.
This prevents them from getting stuck to one another. Once they are frozen, place them in a airtight bag with air removed, or for best results vacuum seal if you can.
I told you this method was easy. When you types “What Is The Best Way To Store Fresh Strawberries” i bet you weren’t expecting to learn so many different methods huh? Well hopefully you enjoyed!
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