Everyone knows that the best place to store food is in the fridge, but different foods have individual storage times. This is why some people wonder when and how to store berries in the fridge.
It is best to store berries right after bringing them home and give them a vinegar bath to wash off any mold. The temperature in the fridge should be below 40°F, and they can be left there for up to two weeks!
There’s a little bit more to this topic, so let’s explore how refrigeration works and how long berries stay good!
How Long Do Berries Last in the Fridge?
Berries usually last up to 2 weeks in the fridge (under 40°F). Strawberries are an exception, as they will not last more than three days in the fridge. Dried berries can last up to 6 months.
Believe it or not, in-depth research about this is done by researchers like those at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. Fruit lasts a little longer than other foods in the fridge or left out at room temperature because they have a protective layer on top.
Apples, for example, can last for more than a month if stored properly.
What Is the Best Way to Store Berries in the Fridge?
To store berries in a fridge, wash them with a water-vinegar solution (3 parts water to 1 part vinegar). Put them in a container with a closed lid; it does not have to be airtight. Store it in a fridge. The temperature inside the fridge should be 40°F or lower.
The berries already have invisible mold, which will grow in the fridge (the cold will slow it down, but it won’t prevent it).
Vinegar will kill the mold before it ever develops. After a thorough bath, rinse them with cold water and store them after drying. We should, however, wash them with water before eating them!
Contrary to popular opinion – don’t wash the berries with only water before storing them in the fridge. By washing them with water, we’re not achieving anything (aside from getting dirt off).
This isn’t a problem if the berries are immediately consumed, but it creates a storage problem as they are still unclean from molds that may have come along for the ride.
Moisture is an important factor in mold development, so we should let the berries dry after washing them.
That’s about it when refrigerating berries – don’t forget to wash them before eating them.
When Is It Okay to Store Berries in the Fridge?
Put berries in the fridge if they won’t be eaten in the next few to 24 hours. Put them in the fridge right after returning home from the store (or after bringing them in from the garden). Keep them in a bowl with a lid, but not in the coldest part of the fridge.
People often put their berries in the coldest part of the fridge, thinking it will keep them from going bad for longer. In reality, that doesn’t matter – as long as the temperature is below 40°F, the berries will stay good.
If we stick them in the coldest part of the fridge, they can get frostbite (yes, fruit and veggies can get frostbite too).
When Should You NOT Store Berries in a Fridge?
The fridge is usually the best place to store fresh berries. If the berries will be eaten quickly, they don’t need to go in the fridge. Berries should also never go in the fridge if the fridge is filthy or has mold. Berries will easily attract that mold.
We also shouldn’t store berries in the fridge if we’re looking to store them long-term. The freezer is the best bet unless we want to store them for years. In that case, the best option is a freeze-dryer, if we have one.
Want to store berries for decades? Read our guide: Freeze Drying Berries: How-to and FAQs Answered!
Do Berries Keep Better in the Fridge?
Berries are kept best in the fridge. They will not go bad instantly if left out at room temperature, but they will dehydrate and begin to spoil after about 24 hours.
Keeping them in a cold and dark pantry will slow the spoiling process, but they’ll still go rotten quicker than if we kept them in the fridge.
Refrigeration works so well at keeping food edible because bacteria aren’t as mobile or able to replicate when it’s cold. Bacteria are the second biggest degraders of food, after oxygen.
Freezing food will also freeze the bacteria, which is why it is a long-term option for keeping food.
What Do Bad Berries Look Like?
The first thing that happens is that berries lose their natural shape and firmness – they become soft, squishy, and dehydrated. They will also start losing their juice.
A fridge is not omnipotent; food can go bad with time, even if it’s properly stored. All berries (aside from strawberries, which need to be eaten quickly) can last at least a week (sometimes up to two weeks) in the fridge.
However, leaving them there for longer than that will lead to spoiling. When the outer layer of fruit is opened, bacteria and mold can finally get to work, so we can expect to see mold on some or all berries.
The mold will quickly spread from the affected, healthy berries to the rest of the bunch, so we might as well throw the entire batch out. Moldy berries can also smell bad, so it’s impossible to miss them.
What Happens If I Eat Berries That Have Gone Bad?
Unless the berries have gone so rotten that they are capable of causing severe indigestion or foodborne illness, they will most likely pass through the digestive system without any problems. It is highly likely that nothing will happen.
Someone would have to eat copious amounts of bad berries to suffer from medically significant symptoms.
Honestly, I’d worry about the bad taste, as berries that have gone rotten aren’t tasty. Eating more than one of them is hard to do, thankfully!
FAQs About Berry Storage
We’re here to help! Check out our FAQs section below for answers to common questions. If we missed yours, let us know, and we’ll update the article. Contact us through our website, and we’ll respond directly to your question.
How long do berries last in the fridge?
If kept below 40°F, berries can last up to two weeks. This does not apply to strawberries, though, as they usually need to be eaten within three days even if refrigerated.
How should I store berries in the fridge?
Before putting berries into a storage container, give them a vinegar bath, rinse, and dry them. This will help get rid of any mold that may have attached to the berries and prevent spoiling for as long as possible. Put the berries into a container and store them in a fridge under 40 degrees.
What do bad berries look like?
Berries that have gone bad are mushy, often losing their color and juice, while they may also develop visible mold. Bad berries can also smell bad, and it is a smell you will not be able to ignore. Bad berries will also taste “off.” Avoid eating berries that don’t look, smell, or taste appetizing.
Final Thoughts on Storing Berries in the Fridge
Berries can be stored in the fridge as soon as we bring them home, and they can stay there for up to two weeks. If we’re not going to use them soon, it would be best to store them in the freezer or freeze-dry them.
Before storing them, give them a vinegar bath – this will clean all the mold and prevent further spoiling. We shouldn’t store berries in the fridge with preexisting mold, as it’ll quickly catch onto the other berries.
If you are thinking about growing your berries at home, these articles are helpful to get you started:
- Complete Guide to Berries: Plant, Grow, Harvest, and Care
- How Much Sun And Shade Can Berries Tolerate? A Complete Guide
Learning from your own experience is essential, but learning from others is also intelligent. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as homesteaders.
- Home Food Storage. (2022, July 12). UNL Food. https://food.unl.edu/free-resource/food-storage