It’s my favorite time of year when berries are at their peak ripeness – vibrant in color and bursting with juicy flavors. Whether it’s strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, these little berries are packed with powerful health benefits. Often claimed as “superfoods,” berries are rich in antioxidants, which defend against damaging free radicals that cause inflammation. They are also naturally low in sugar and calories, which makes them a great option for those looking to help manage blood sugar and weight.
Why We Love Them
- Improves brain functioning and memory
- Supports healthy heart function
- Prevents cancer
- Prevent cognitive decline
These superfoods have a powerful nutritional profile, so make sure to preserve your berries to make them last longer throughout the week (and even into the off-season months!)
When You Get Home
- Sort through and discard any overly soft or moldy berries. It’s easy to miss a bad berry hiding in the bunch, but it can ruin the whole batch. Make sure to remove these as soon as they’re spotted.
- Do NOT wash until ready to eat. Washing will cause your berries to spoil more quickly, especially if you wash them without drying and put them in the refrigerator. Wash berries only immediately before consuming.
- Bring to room temperature. Spread out berries on a cookie pan to allow them to release any extra condensation before storing.
- Consider vinegar. You might consider a hot water bath to slow spoilage and extend your berries shelf life. Submerge berries in a solution of 1-cup vinegar and 3 cups water to remove potential bacteria or mold. Next, drain your berries in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Allow them to dry completely before storing in a sealed container. These water treatments have been tested and shown to prevent mold growth longer than conventional methods.
Storage for Longer-Lasting Berries
Refrigerator. This is your best option if you’re looking to preserve your berries up to seven days. Fresh berries are excellent on a salad, in a juice or in your breakfast oatmeal.
- Get the right conditions. Optimum storage temperature is 32 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity between 90-95 percent.
- Use a separate container. Remove whole, unwashed berries from their original container and place in a partially closed Tupperware or glass container. Having some “room to breathe” helps preserve their fresh quality.
- Use a paper towel. Put a folded paper towel in the bottom of your storage container to absorb any hidden condensation.
- Store for seven days. Storing under these conditions will warrant you 5-7 days of fresh berries.
Freezer. This is a great option if berries are about to spoil or if you’ve stocked up on too many berries at once. Freezing retains a significant amount of nutrients and antioxidants and is a perfect option to have them available all year round.
- Prep your berries. First wash and dry berries thoroughly. If freezing strawberries, make sure to remove their green heads with the option of cutting them up in halves.
- Freeze individually. Spread berries in a single layer on cookie sheets. Place in the freezer until frozen. This method preserves the quality and makes it easy to dispense berries into your oatmeal or smoothie at a later time.
- Put in storage containers. After individually freezing, transfer to freezer safe plastic bags, Tupperware or glass mason jars.
- Store for up to one year.
How do you enjoy your berries and do you have any additional tips or tricks we don’t know about? We’d love to hear from you!