3 Berry Storage Tips That Extend the Life of Your Fresh Berries

Extend the life of your summer berries—like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries—for up to five days with these handy Test Kitchen tips.

There's almost nothing worse than opening up a container of berries you just bought a few days ago to find that they're already turning to mush (or worse, mold). Luckily, even if you don't finish up your berries within a day or two of bringing them home from the store, we've got tips straight from our Test Kitchen that will help you extend their lives by at least a few more days. That should give you enough time to finish snacking on them plain, or whip up a stunning berry pie or berry dessert to share with friends and family.

Gluten Free Honey-Berry Compote

3 Fresh Berry Storage Tips from the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen

We've all been there: That package of berries has only been in the refrigerator for two days, but the fruit already looks past its prime (or worse, unsafe to eat). The Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen has discovered three helpful hints to extend the life of your berries so you can safely enjoy them for up to five days after bringing them home.

Store Them Right

Store unwashed berries in a single layer—such as in a short, wide storage container—to keep the fruit from getting crushed. Line the container with paper towels to absorb excess moisture, then loosely cover. (A tight lid traps gases that will accelerate ripening.)

Wash and Dry

When you're ready to use the berries, place them in a colander and rinse in cool water. Line a salad spinner basket with paper towels, pour in the washed berries, and spin moisture away.

Try a Vinegar Wash

If you're trying to encourage your family to snack on berries straight from the fridge and want to store them in the fridge already washed, don't clean them in plain H2O—unless you want to speed up the spoiling process. Instead, follow this easy strategy that works especially well with raspberries:

  • Fill a bowl with 3 cups of water plus 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. Add unwashed berries and stir with your hands to rinse the berries.
  • Line a salad spinner basket with paper towels, pour in the washed berries, and spin moisture away.
  • Store berries in a single layer in a loosely covered paper towel-lined container.

Need to Keep Berries for More Than a Week?

For longer storage, freezing is best. Place the berries in a single layer on a baking pan and place them in the freezer. Once they're frozen, put the berries in freezer containers or plastic freezer bags and seal. When stored this way, berries will keep in the freezer for up to six months.

Frozen berries are terrific in sauces, ice creams, syrups, pie fillings, homemade smoothies, and other sweet sips. Give our top frozen berry recipes a whirl.

At the Breakfast Table

Blueberry pancakes are already a breakfast favorite, but there are no rules about what berries you can add to the batter. Try using up frozen berries in our Berry Pancakes recipe, which mixes a few into the batter and includes the rest on top of your stack. Or, if you love blueberries most of all, try making our Overnight Blueberry Coffee Cake, which is studded with two full cups of frozen blueberries. Berries also make a tasty oatmeal topper, but you can put a twist on the breakfast favorite by serving our Mixed-Berry Breakfast Quinoa.

For a Happier Happy Hour

Oh yes, frozen berries can bring both sweetness and freshness to happy hour. If you need to cool off, blend up a pitcher of our Summer Fruit Daiquiri recipe — you can sub in just about any summer fruit you want, berries included. If a margarita is your drink of choice, you can add in frozen berries in an unexpected way—rather than choosing a popular strawberry margarita, push the envelope a little more with our Blackberry Margarita recipe.

Come Dessert O'Clock

Undoubtedly, one of our favorite ways to celebrate frozen berries is with an after-dinner treat. You can take the traditional route and serve them together in our Berry Slab Pie, but if you're looking to make a more creative berry dessert, don't miss out on making our Raspberry Sorbet Trio. The most basic recipe is just raspberries, sugar, water, and lime, but you can easily dress it up by adding pineapple, mango, or another favorite fruit.

Try out our Test Kitchen's tips, and see if they extend the life of your fruit! While these hacks are great for preserving your berries, we also have other tips for saving and choosing summer fruits, like freezing peaches and choosing the best watermelon. Canning is also an option for saving your fruit, so no matter which way you choose, you can enjoy your favorite fruits all year long, even when they're not in season.

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