One part vinegar (I used Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar)
Ten parts water
Fill your sink or a large bowl with the mixture. Dump your berries in and swirl around! Drain and rinse your berries. Let your berries dry thouroughly before storing in the fridge.
Guess what was recently on sale at my Whole Foods!? Organic strawberries! Surprisingly (for February) sweet and tasty ones too! To me, this is a sign that spring is near, and that means Asparagus (more on that later) and BERRIES!
We love berries in our home! Blueberry muffins and pancakes are so juicy and fullfiling during berry season. MariaBella and I would eat an entire pint of strawberries each in one sitting if I let us. Fresh berries are such a treat, but their season is short. This means that it isn't always easy to take full advantage of the lower prices and robust flavor as I might like. I found myself purchacing 3 lbs. of strawberries the day I saw them on sale at my Whole Foods (I wasn't kidding about MariaBella's strawberry eating capabilities) and wishing that I could get more.
Happily, my Grandma Denny shared with me an easy way to safely extend the shelf life of my fresh berries. Turns out, the reason they go bad so quickly when you get home, is that they are covered in mold spores. Don't ick out, these guys are good to have around! They are beneficial to the berry plants and harmless to our tummies. In fact, I recently learned that the mold and bacteria that occurs naturally on and around vineyards not only protect the fragile grape vines from diseases, but add to the flavor of the grapes, and the naturally occuring yeast bacteria are responsible for the ever cruicial fermentation of the grapes needed to make wine! I digress... The happy berry news is that we can take better advantage of lower in-season prices and get our fill of fresh juicy berries without having to freeze or preserve them using a simple vinegar and water wash. The vinegar kills any mold spores and bacteria that linger on the surface of your berries. The vinegar is diluted enough by the water so that the flavor of vinegar does not permeate the fruit, but not so much so that it looses any spore or bacteria killing power. According to Grandma Denny, raspberries will last a week or more and strawberries will last almost 2 weeks in the fridge! I washed my most recent stash of strawberries and they lasted 12 days before the first sign of spoilage. I set 2 of them aside that were still OK as a science experiment, I'll keep you posted :-)
I am looking forward to my local berry season, when the berries will be even more fresh, tasty, and affordable. Fresh berry salads for breakfast, lunch, and dessert are in my family's near future, YAY!
For my 3 lbs. of strawberries I used .5 cup of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar and 5 cups of water.
I lined cookie trays with dish towels and placed my rinsed berries on top to dry faster.
If you plan to store your berries in the same container you brought them home in, consider rinsing the container out in the vinegar wash too!
Vinegar and Water Washes are also great for washing other fruits and veggies! For thicker skinned produce, use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.