Strawberries, like other berries, are high in vitamins, fiber, minerals. The heart-shaped fruits and their aroma are ideal refreshments for summer.
However, some start to notice mold spores appear on fresh strawberries within a few days. They might wonder: “Why do strawberries mold so fast?”. If you share the same concern, let’s scroll through the article to seek a satisfying answer and some golden tips to prolong the shelf life of fruits.
Why Do Strawberries Mold So Fast?
Strawberries and other fresh berries tend to be quite porous and soak up moisture in the environment effortlessly, making it ideal for mold spores to develop on their surfaces.
Hence, as there are mold spores in the air all the time, they can reproduce quickly, causing a whole basket of strawberries to spoil within 48 hours of picking.
6 Essential Tips To Prevent Mold On Strawberries
Vinegar kills mold spores and bacteria. Here are some easy-peasy steps to discard any mold and extend the shelf life of strawberries.
- Put strawberries in a large bowl.
- Pour 4 parts cold water and 1 part white vinegar into the bowl.
- Soak the fruits for a couple of minutes, then gently swish around a few times to get rid of dirt, spores, and bacteria.
- Drain the berries, then rinse with cold water to remove the remaining vinegar.
- After rinsing, place them on a paper towel or a kitchen cloth until they dry completely.
Do not rinse strawberries
In case you do not have time for vinegar soak, store strawberries directly in the refrigerator and remember not to wash them until eaten since adding more moisture just encourages the growth of mold spores. Washed strawberries can only remain fresh for up to 2 days.
Therefore, rinse only the amount of fruits just before eating.
Store strawberries properly
Airflow is important to maintain the maximum freshness of strawberries when storing them. That’s why the fruits are often packed in containers with holes that provide ventilation.
Hence, after soaking them in the vinegar soak, place them in a small colander and lay a paper towel or clean cloth at the bottom to retain excess water.
Then, strawberries should be stored in the refrigerator since the humidity level and the temperature around 32°F is ideal for keeping the fruits. If stored correctly in the fridge, strawberries tend to keep for 3-7 days.
Some notes to remember when storing the berries in the fridge:
- Before storing, make sure to remove all moisture on the strawberries to avoid mold.
- Remove strawberries from their original container, place them in a paper towel-lined container, and then seal with a lid or plastic wrap. Another way is to place them in a colander and store them in the fridge for several days.
- Strawberries are delicate and are prone to freezing, so it’s better not to keep them on the fridge door because the temperature on the door is often higher than other areas in the fridge.
- Store strawberries separately from foods with distinctive and strong smells such as cheeses, onions, or durians.
On the other hand, strawberries can be left out at room temperature only when consumed throughout the day as they are highly perishable and sensitive to light and heat. Before displaying strawberries into a bowl on the counter, remember to dry them completely.
Use lemon juice
To keep the strawberries fresh for the maximum amount of time, squeeze the lemon juice into a 1.5-quart bowl of cut fruit.
Lemon juice is known for hindering the oxidation of the fruit, which avoids browning and a loss of crispness.
Discard any moldy or soft strawberries immediately
When first purchasing strawberries from stores or supermarkets, it’s vital to check moldy or mushy berries. If there is any sign of mold, remove the berries as soon as possible since just an unpleasant one can spread the moldiness of the rest.
There’re some signs that you should discard your berries right away:
- Texture changes: As strawberries are stored in the fridge, they tend to lose their plumpness. However, while they can be slightly soft, toss out mushy ones immediately.
- Strange colors: When strawberries appear in discoloration, it is a sign of spoiled strawberries. If brown emerge on the strawberries, get them away from the fresh ones.
- Unpleasant smell: If they have a vinegary smell, they can be rotten and should be discarded.
- Mold: It is an alarming sign that it is time to let those strawberries go.
In case you have many clusters of strawberries and do not want to end up wasting any products, it’s recommended to freeze them.
Here’re a few quick steps to do:
- Remove the strawberries from the stems. You can use a knife to do this step.
- Place them in a colander, wash them under running water, then pat dry.
- Gently transfer strawberries into a baking tray and spread them out in a single layer so that they don’t touch each other.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper at the bottom.
- Put a baking tray with strawberries in the freezer for about 2-3 hours or until they are frozen solid.
- Once the strawberries are all frozen, place them in sealable freezer-safe bags and squeeze the air out of the bag to reduce the formation of ice crystals.
- Once done, store them in the freezer.
Now, the strawberries are ready to be used to make your favorite strawberry treats. Use within 3 to 5 months for the best flavor. But strawberries can be kept in the freezer for up to a year.
There is no need to thaw frozen strawberries since they are ideal for a snack, ice cream, or smoothies.
Now, you’ve found the true answer to the question: “Why do strawberries mold so fast?” and some practical ways to avoid the problem arises. Note that you should never eat strawberries that appear signs of spoilage or mold for safety purposes.
Also, ensure that the fruits are away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Hopefully, you can preserve the freshly picked strawberries pack and maintain their utmost shelf life.