Why Do Strawberries Go Bad So Fast? (How To Prevent)

People buy strawberries because of the advantage they can get from consuming them. It is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, not to mention it has antioxidants called polyphenols. Did I mention, they are also a wonderful source of potassium and manganese

But the question remains, why do strawberries go bad, so fast? 

You could have just bought them a few hours ago and you can already see some discoloration or some parts are already turning mushy. Other pieces are leaking juice. 

The reason for this is that strawberries have mold spores. They are quick to absorb water and retain it. A whole basket of strawberries can go bad, and spoil very quickly if you don’t prevent it from happening. 

How Do You Prevent Your Strawberries From Early Spoilage?

Using Vinegar AKA Vinegar Bath

Vinegar should be available in your home, and you only need one part of it mixed with five parts of water placed in a large bowl. You can add more if you have more strawberries to soak. 

You only need to soak your berries in vinegar for a few minutes, so it will rid of the bacteria and the spores that are present in every piece of berries you have. 

Remove your strawberries from the mixture and then place them on top of paper towels and let them air dry. You may also dry them piece by piece, but this will be time-consuming. As long as you let them dry, making sure that there is no moisture present, this is safe from getting molds.

Get a container where you can place your berries on top of a paper towel, as well, and store it inside the fridge. 

Using A Tight Container To Store Them In The Fridge

What you need to do here for your strawberries is to remove the stems. There is no need to wash unless you are ready to use the strawberries. This way, you are preventing additional moisture from staying on your berries while in storage. 

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After removing the stems, place each piece of berries on top of the paper towel-lined container and the fruit should be spread out and not on top of each other. 

Keep the lid tightly closed, and then label it. You can store the berries for up to a week without them spoiling. 

Placing Strawberries In A Freezer Bag And Store Them Inside The Fridge

Using ziplock to store your berries is also a bright idea. You only need to remove the stems, place each in a freezer bag, and seal it tightly. This can be stored for a month or two, and you are required to wash it before its use. 

Using an airtight glass jar for storage

You can use a mason jar for this storage. You only need to place the unwashed berries inside the jar and store them inside the fridge. The airtight jar will help stop any moisture from seeping inside. 

However, this is not helpful if you need to store a basketful of strawberries. 

Storing Your Unwashed Berries Inside The Fridge In A Container Lined With A Paper Towel

Berries will spoil because of moisture, and molds will be there at the first sign of it. By not washing your berries before storage, you are not leaving out any moisture. 

The paper towel will help as well in absorbing any, while inside the fridge.

Strawberries Left On Countertop Are Good For Consumption Up To 2 Days

It is also possible to leave the original packaging on or transfer your strawberry purchase in a bowl and just put it on your countertop. This is good for up to 2 days, and you can wash the berries before eating. 

What to consider when buying strawberries?

You may do all the preparation before storage, but it won’t be enough if you get to buy the wrong kind of strawberries in the first place. Here are the rules when buying strawberries. 

  • Choose strawberries that have a bright and even red color and should have a fresh aroma. Plumpness should also be added to the list of what you should look for in berries. 
  • Although the size makes no difference in strawberries, some may prefer bigger and sweeter berries. 
  • Pick the berries that have fresh green leaves as this is a sign that it is just newly picked and will be fresher compared to those that have wilted and dry leaves. 
  • Inspect the berries that are on display and beware of the moldy smell. 
  • The cap should be green and healthy, it should be intact and not hanging or about to fall off. 
  • Do not buy strawberries that you can’t check for spoilage. Sometimes there are strawberries already packed, and you can’t inspect the inside where there may be a piece or two that is already appearing mushy. Bad berries may hide underneath. 
  • Do not get berries with a pale color cause this may not be as delicious compared to those with a bright, red color. 
  • Forego berries that have caps that are already browning and dry. 
  • If you can’t prevent buying packed berries, make sure that you picked the one with clean packaging, and no juices flowing outside, indicating already damaged berries. 
  • Buy what you will immediately use within the next few days, this is also to prevent any leftover berries from spoilage. 
  • When you already bought a few packs of berries, ensure that it is placed on top of your grocery bag instead of underneath to prevent the berries from getting crushed with the other heavy stuff. 
  • Separate the pack of berries from raw meat and poultry to avoid contamination.
  • Once you get home, inspect the berries for any crushed pieces and immediately remove each. 
  • Prepare for storage. 
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Cleaning your strawberries correctly.

  • Besides using vinegar to remove bacteria and keep it mold-free, you can also use running water to wash your strawberry provided that you are already going to consume the fruit, otherwise, you can store the fruit in the fridge until you need to eat them. You can wash it before consumption. 
  • It is not advisable to use any soap or other cleaning solution when washing your berries cause this will change the taste of the fruit and may also cause poisoning. 
  • While you are washing the strawberries, inspect for any pieces that may already be in the early stage of spoiling. Not removing the mushy pieces, may mean early spoilage for the whole batch. 
  • Do not remove the cap of the strawberries while washing unless you are going to serve the strawberries for consumption. 
  • Make sure you wash strawberries that may have touched raw meat or its juice, or better yet if you throw it away as it is already contaminated.
  • Do not immediately handle the berries for washing if you use your hands during meat preparation. You must wash your hands first before handling the berries for washing. 
  • Place the berries after washing in a clean and sanitized container before serving, do not just place them on the countertop. 
  • Do not use the uncleaned and unsanitized sink you used during meat preparation, it should be thoroughly washed and decontaminated. 
  • Getting your strawberries contaminated while washing is a big no-no. This can harbor common food-borne illnesses such as salmonella and E. coli, or Hepatitis A. Contamination can occur anywhere, and that includes the place where you are washing your strawberries. 
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What to do with your overripe strawberries? Don’t throw them yet

  • Jams/Jelly. As long as it is not yet in its soggy shape, overripe strawberries can still be used as jam and jelly to put some flavor for your muffins and toast in the morning. 
  • Strawberry Ice Pops. It is not too late for your strawberries, you can easily puree a portion of it and then place it in molds and leave it in the freezer. You can enjoy it after a few hours with the entire family. 
  • Pies. Mushy quality of strawberry is required in making pies and cobblers. An overripe strawberry can be a good candidate for this treatment. 
  • Dips. Strawberry salsa can be something that is best paired with sugar chips. You will need a dice and overripe strawberry quality here to make the perfect dip. 
  • Dressings. Strawberry vinaigrette can be useful, and overripe strawberries are the ingredient you will need for this dressing. Best pair for your salad. 
  • Smoothies. Do not despair cause you can turn your overripe and mushy berries into a wonderful, and a refreshing glass of smoothie, you only need to blend it with other fruits, and you are ready to enjoy its flavorful taste. 

Good to know

  • Strawberries are a significant source of vitamin C and fiber, potassium, and high in flavonoids. They are considered high in antioxidants while being low in calorie content at only 55 calories per serving. 
  • Strawberries benefit the aging brain and can also be effective in lowering the risk of chronic diseases. 
  • There are over 3 billion pounds of strawberries being produced each year. 
  • Strawberries have now over 100 variants that are available in the market.
  • Animal manure and human fecal matter can contaminate strawberries and is the reason that their production requires the highest standard. 

Strawberries are better consumed fresh as it is more enjoyable, however, there are also ways such as strawberries in pastries, ice cream, smoothies, yogurt and pies among others.

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