From April until June it is strawberry season here in South Carolina, and there is simply nothing quite like the taste of freshly picked berries to tempt your taste buds. But one frustrating thing about strawberries is that they tend to be quick to become mushy and moldy, often within a day or two of arriving in your kitchen. I have had some berries that literally seemed to spoil slightly from the farmer’s market to my driveway.
Why do strawberries tend to spoil so quickly? Well, strawberries are a very delicate fruit that is very susceptible to growth of a fungus known as Botryrtis cinerea fungus. When exposed to moisture, it quickly allows this fungus to grow and in turn, the fungus causes the strawberry to rot more quickly.
To get more fresh, unspoiled time from your berries, one of the best ways to combat the grey fungus is to combine 1 cup white vinegar with two to three cups of filtered water. Add the whole berries (do not hull them) to the water and swish them around to remove any dirt or debris. The vinegar is a natural anti-fungal that will help to keep the “mold” at bay and keep your berries fresh longer. Don’t rinse them before storing them, but to remove the vinegar taste, you can rinse them before eating!
You do want to make sure to drain your berries well. Place them in an airtight container. I always like to line mine with some paper towel to help absorb any remaining water. This helps to cut down on condensation and also helps to keep them fresh.
Don’t forget to buy extra and freeze some to eat throughout the year. I love to purchase fresh, local berries eat spring and freeze them to enjoy year round! I do recommend washing the berries in the vinegar and water solution before freezing them as well!