There is nothing better than the taste of fresh, local, seasonal berries. If you are like me and think that berry season is the best time of the year, you are gonna love this blog post.
Most of us don’t have the luxury of growing our own berries in our garden, but if you do more power to you :). As for the rest of us, we should always try to opt for organic/unsprayed berries. Strawberries, for example, are currently number one on the list of produce contaminated with pesticides. Check out the environmental working group’s dirty dozen list to stay up to date.
You can get the best and most delicious berries from your local farmers market, or by taking a trip to a berry picking farm. A little tip that I have learned on my visits to markets is to always ask the farmers directly if they spray their produce. Just because they are not certified organic doesn’t necessarily mean that they spray their fruits and veggies. Last year I spoke with a farmer and she explained to me that it is very expensive and complicated to obtain the organic certification. Therefore many farmers choose to not do it even though they practice sustainable farming.
Sooooo you bought your organic/unsprayed berries and the next morning you get up excited and ready to enjoy them for breakfast. You open your fridge and the excitement fades as there are all kinds of new organisms waving at you and happily growing on your berries. We have all been there, right? Yes, organic berries go bad faster than conventional ones. This raises the question as to why conventional berries can be in the fridge for weeks. But that’s a whole other topic. 🙂
To avoid wasting food and money (yup they are kind of pricey) I came up with a system for handling my berries. 🙂 So today I am going to share my favorite steps with you that have helped me to keep organic berries fresh longer.
5 steps to keep berries fresh
1. Carefully select them
When you buy berries, check thoroughly for moldy or squashed ones. Don’t forget to lift the produce basket and check the bottom! Pick the one with the best looking ones.
2. Wash and dry them
Once home, rinse your berries thoroughly under water using a strainer and let them dry. (Moisture is the perfect breeding ground for mold, so make sure they are completely dry before storing them.) It is very tricky to dry raspberries, and therefore unless you are going to eat them the same day it might be better to wash them right before eating them. You could also skip this step and wash all berries directly before you are consuming them to avoid the drying process.
3. Organize them
After they have dried take a few minutes (I promise it is worth it!) to organize them. This step is crucial! If you see any moldy berries throw them in your compost. Now place the unripest berries on the bottom of the basket (the one they came in) and the ripest on top. That way you avoid having one squashed/overripe berry on the bottom making the whole basket go bad.
4. Maximize the use of overripe ones
Use very ripe/squashed berries for a smoothie or cake the same day or freeze them. Check out my raspberry smoothie and my rhubarb-strawberry crisp for inspiration.
5. Store them
Store the rest in the fridge for the next couple of days. If you see a berry that is starting to go bad, throw it out immediately. However, if it is still eatable use it for a smoothie or simply eat it. Beware, one overripe berry that is starting to mold can affect the whole basket.
Enjoy berry season. 🙂
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