Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, mulberries, raspberries, oh there are so many amazing berries in the summertime. One of the best parts of summer for me is the fresh berries from the yard and the amazing deals on berries I find at our local fruit market. when you are feeding a large family like we are taking advantage of fresh produce when it is in season is the best way to save. The sad part of berries is that they always seem to go bad faster than most other produce. Rather than see food go to waste I make an extra effort to keep berries fresh for as long as possible and to preserve fresh berries when I have more than we can eat.
How to Keep berries fresh.
Berries rot and go bad quickly. they are also the most likely fruit for my husband to bring home fruit flies when I am not shopping with him. Getting rid of flies in the house is not my favorite hobby. To get the most of your berries you need to put in a little work to prevent rotting, bugs, and mold getting to your berries.
Preventing berries from growing mold
When one berry grows mold the rest will often follow quickly. To prevent your berries from getting moldy you need to act fast when you get them home. Start by going through the berries and removing any that are already showing signs of rotting or mold. this is best done before washing to help prevent you from squishing and spreading the mold around to the other berries.
give your berries a good wash removing dirt, stems, and residue from the farm,m transportation, and store. The bacteria that your berries pick up can help them rot faster so you need to get rid of them quickly.
After you have washed your berries well give them a bath in water and vinegar to help kill and prevent mold. to do this fill your sink or a large bowl with water. Add 1 cup of vinegar. Any kind will work so stick with the cheap stuff and save the apple cider vinegar for more important things. Stir the berries in this solution to help coat them fully.
Once you remove the berries from the vinegar water solution lett hem dry without rinsing the solution off. This will give them a light coating to help fight off bacteria and mold spores until you are ready to use them.
Stop berries from rotting quickly
While everything rots there are several things you can do to slow down the process and make it less likely that your berries will rot before you can use them. Cleaning way bacteria and doing a vinegar wash like above is the first step to slowing the rotting process.
After you have gotten them clean you want to store your berries in the right container. While you can place your berries back in the container you brought them home in and toss in the produce drawer you can also choose to use a container that will help keep them fresh longer.
The easier option is to place a bit of paper towel at the bottom of a glass jar. this is a great way to upcycle old glass jars from pasta sauce and such. Then place your berries on top of the paper towel and place the sealed jar in the refrigerator. If using glass jars is not the right choice for you (sometimes you need something kids can’t break) you can opt to purchase specialty containers for your berries. These berry storage containers help keep your berries up out of any fluid that forms at the bottom of the container and protects them from other items in your refrigerator.
Using up berries before they can go bad
One of the most important steps to keeping your berries fresh is to use them before they can go bad. If you can not use your berries take the time to freeze them for later or try making your own jams and jellies. This mulberry jam and strawberry jam are great options for using up these fruits. Use a basic menu plan to ensure that you use up your berries before they can go bad.