We Tested 6 Ways to Store Strawberries to Find the Best Method

Keep your strawberries fresh for as long as possible! We tested six methods to find out how to store strawberries and were surprised by the best technique.

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Fresh strawberries are so luscious and flavorful, especially when you pick your own or buy baskets from a local fruit stand at the height of strawberry season. It’s like there’s a taste of summer in every berry! Growing strawberries from seeds isn’t that tricky but keeping them fresh can be a challenge. They’re so delicious that no one wants to lose even one precious strawberry to mushiness or mold.

There are a lot of opinions out there on how to store strawberries, so we put some popular methods to the test. Here’s what we learned about storing strawberries, and the method we liked best.

How We Tested These Methods

All of the methods below were tested by keeping the strawberries in the refrigerator for seven days (except for the freezer method). Because strawberries and other fresh berries tend to have mold spores on their surfaces, they spoil faster when left out at room temperature. Keeping them in the fridge slows down this process so you have more time to use them. It’s the best option when you need to keep your strawberries for more than a day or so.

So what’s the best way to store them in the fridge? Here’s what we found out.

The Best Methods to Store Strawberries

Method 1: Original Container

Toh.store Strawberries.container Before.nancy Mock CopyNancy Mock for Taste of Home

About This Method: Strawberries are typically sold in plastic clamshell boxes or berry baskets made of wood or cardboard. They have openings along the sides and lid to let air flow around the berries.

How To Do It: This is the easiest method to try. Just pop the container in the fridge! (Though if you see moldy or mushy berries, remove those first.)

Did It Work? This method works fine to store your fresh strawberries in the fridge for a few days, but after seven days they had some mushy spots and a few, tiny specks of mold growing. The leaves also looked withered. The strawberries for the most part were still edible, and would be best sliced up for a recipe so that the bad spots can be cut away.

The Verdict: Not bad.

This is a fine storage method if you’re in a rush, as long as you plan to use the berries in 3-5 days. Any longer and they begin to spoil and look unappetizing.

Method 2: Vinegar Bath

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About This Method: Freshly picked berries have naturally occurring mold spores on them, which is what eventually will make them spoil. Rinsing strawberries in a vinegar bath kills these spores, so they can’t affect the berries.

How To Do It: For this method, stir one cup of white vinegar into two cups of water. Place the whole strawberries in the mixture and gently swish them around for about a minute. Then rinse the berries off under clean water (this mini colander is perfect for washing berries). Lay the strawberries out to dry on a tray lined with a dish towel. When they’re completely dry, place them back in the original container and store them in the fridge.

Did It Work? Other sources sing the praises of this storage method, so we were surprised with the results. We even tested the method twice to be sure. The strawberries looked bedraggled and dark, with shriveled leaves and soft spots. Although there were no signs of mold, the berries didn’t look appealing at all.

The Verdict: Skip it.

Strawberries absorb water when they’re washed and this accelerates their decay. Even though they were laid out to dry, the strawberries still had the moisture they absorbed, and this ultimately affected their freshness. It’s best to wait to wash strawberries until right before you need them for your recipe.

Method 3: The Crisper

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About This Method: Crisper drawers in refrigerators are designed to be storage spots for fruits and vegetables. The drawers have vents to create high or low humidity environments that help produce last as long as possible.

How To Do It: Place whole strawberries on a tray lined with clean paper towels or reusable refrigerator liners. Since moisture speeds decay in strawberries, the paper towels will help by absorbing moisture on the strawberry surfaces or leaking juices. Once your tray of berries is in the drawer, open the vents to let moisture escape and keep humidity low.

Did It Work? After seven days, the strawberries for the most part looked good. Although the leaves were limp, and we did find one berry that was beginning to grow mold, the majority of the strawberries were still firm and ready to eat.

The Verdict: It works.

The crisper drawer does what it’s supposed to do: it prevents moisture from building up on the strawberries, so they stay fresh. Spacing the berries out in a single layer on absorbent paper towels was also key to keeping the berries dry. If you weren’t already using your crisper drawer for fruit, it’s about time you did!

Method 4: With FreshPaper

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About This Method: FreshPaper is a product designed to keep produce fresher longer. The compostable paper sheets are infused with spices that naturally inhibit the bacteria that causes fruits and veggies to spoil. (And the sheets smell amazing!)

How To Do It: It’s very easy: the directions for FreshPaper say to just drop a sheet in with your produce wherever you’re storing it, in the fridge or at room temperature. We tucked a sheet in the original container holding our strawberries.

Did It Work? The results were similar to those of the strawberries in the crisper drawer, although there were a few more strawberries near the bottom of the carton that had mushy spots. The majority of the berries were still firm and tasty.

The Verdict: Pretty good.

FreshPaper seems to keep its promise of inhibiting bacteria, since there was no mold on the strawberries. Because the berries were piled in a carton there was less airflow to the berries near the bottom, and they began to develop soft spots. If the berries were laid in a single layer with a sheet of FreshPaper, we think they’d do well in the fridge for the full seven days.

Method 5: Freezer

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About This Method: Fresh berries are stored in freezer bags in the freezer, where they last for months instead of days.

How To Do It: Rinse and dry whole strawberries, then remove the stem and leaves with a knife or a hulling tool. (This makes the berries easier to use once they’re thawed.) The right gadgets will make the process go much more smoothly. Don’t miss our other favorite berry tools. Place the strawberries inside resealable freezer bags, and press out all the air. Freeze the strawberries in a flat, single layer, and once they’re frozen you can move the bag where you need to in your freezer.

Did It Work? The strawberries freeze up beautifully, and this gives you the chance to hang on to their summer flavor for longer than if you store them in the fridge. The only downside is that strawberries will lose their firmness when thawed, but there are plenty of ways to use them.

The Verdict: Great for long term storage.

Freezing strawberries is an excellent choice. When sealed well, the berries last for several months. It’s important to use thicker, freezer safe bags so that your strawberries won’t absorb odors. Also, squeeze all the air out to prevent freezer burn from forming. Because freezing breaks down the cell walls of the berries, they will be soft and juicy when you thaw them. Use the thawed or partially frozen berries in smoothies and milkshakes, in baked dishes like cobblers or muffins, and to make strawberry sauce.

Method 6: Mason Jar

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About This Method: Fresh, whole strawberries are sealed inside glass mason jars with metal lids and bands, then refrigerated.

How To Do It: Check through your strawberries to remove any that have mushy spots or mold. Place your unwashed strawberries in a glass mason jar, and stack them loosely so that they aren’t squishing each other. Tightly fasten the metal lid and band on the jar, then put it in the fridge.

Did It Work? Yes! This is our favorite of the six methods. If you don’t see any difference between the before and after photos of this method, it’s not a trick. After seven days the strawberries looked as fresh as they did on day one, with plump, firm fruit and fresh leaves. It was so satisfying to find the strawberries looked and tasted this perfect after a week in the fridge.

The Verdict: We love it!

No air can get into the sealed mason jars, and this seems to hold off the decay of the strawberries. There’s just enough natural moisture in the fruit that the berries stay firm and the leaves stay vibrant. When we opened the jar it made the same pssshh! noise that you hear when opening a soda: that’s the ethylene gas produced by the strawberries escaping. It’s important that the strawberries go into the jar unwashed, and that any iffy berries are removed so they don’t affect the rest.

Things to Remember When Storing Strawberries

No matter which storage method you decide to try, there are a few rules about storing fresh strawberries to know. All of these tips will help your berries stay fresher and better looking for a longer time.

Sort the berries

Just as one bad apple can spoil the bunch, one moldy or deteriorating strawberry will cause the rest of the berries to spoil faster, too. Check boxes of strawberries carefully at the store before you buy them. When you get your strawberries home, sort through them and remove any that have mold or look mushy.

Leave the stem and leaves on

Hulling the strawberries, or even just tearing off the leaves and stems, exposes the flesh of the fruit to air and bacteria, which will cause them to rot quickly. It’s best to leave strawberries whole with leaves and stems intact until you’re ready to use them.

Wait to wash them

It’s a good idea to wash berries, but wait to do this until just before you’re ready to use them. Strawberries absorb water quickly and once the surfaces are saturated they will quickly turn to mush or get moldy. Learn how to clean strawberries to keep the berries fresh for longer.

There are some recipes like chocolate covered strawberries, where you’ll want use the whole berries after washing. For these times, rinse the berries quickly in cold water, and handle them very gently. Then, spread them out on a tray lined with a clean dish towel to air dry. Turn them occasionally, so they can dry on all sides and around the leaves. Once they’re completely dry to the touch, use them right away.

Store in the refrigerator

Unless you’re planning to eat or use your fresh strawberries within a day of bringing them home, the refrigerator is the best place to store them. (And you can choose which method to try!) The cold temperature will slow down the spoiling process so you’ll have your berries for longer.

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a Taste of Home Community Cook and a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.