Storing Strawberries

Spring is Here!

After months of winter fruits (read: citrus!) spring is here and with it comes the first of the season's strawberries.  Living in the Bay Area, we are surrounded by some of the best berry growing locations in the country!  Places like Watsonville and Pescadero produce sweet, ripe berries that can get to market in San Francisco hours after they're picked.  A staple for sweet desserts and jams, strawberries are also a favorite of kids and adults alike. 

But fresh berries often have delicate skins, and even too much contact with the little green baskets they come in can cause puncture and bleeding, shortening the berry's life.  I get lots of questions at the farmer's market every week (where I work on Saturday's for Tomatero Farm) about the best way to store berries. 

The short answer - eat them! Strawberries are best eaten fresh, before they've been refrigerated.  But, I have found a great way to keep them around for a few more days.  The key is to not wash your berries until you are ready to eat them - moisture decreases their shelf life.  Line a tupperware with a clean, dry paper towel (or dishtowel) and put unwashed berries on top.  Place a tight fitting lid on top and put in the tupperware in the refrigerator.  Check every day or two, and wipe moisture from the top of the lid and change out towel if it starts to get wet. 

Did you know strawberries also freeze well? Wash berries and trim the tops, then place in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Place in your fridge until the berries are frozen and then transfer to a freezer safe bag.  These frozen berries are perfect for winter smoothies, compotes and pies!