Berry Basics

For maximum freshness and flavor, follow these tips for buying and storing berries.

Purchase berries that are brightly colored and plump. Blueberries should have a silver frosted appearance. While raspberries and blackberries should not have their hulls attached, strawberries should.

At home, remove any berries that are soft, shriveled or moldy. Place in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate, cover loosely and refrigerate. Don't wash berries until ready to use.

Berries are very perishable. Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries stay fresh for up to 2 days. Blueberries should be used within 5 days.

Whole berries can also be frozen for up to 1 year. Wash, blot dry and arrange in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Freeze until firm, then transfer to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. You can also freeze sliced or halved strawberries. Place in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and sprinkle with sugar if desired; seal bag.

One pint of blackberries yields 1-1/2 to 2 cups; one pint of blueberries or raspberries equals 2 cups; one pint of strawberries yields 1-1/2 to 2 cups, sliced.