Boost Your Berry-Keeping Powers!!

Berries are finicky, but we think they are worth the special care they require in the field and on their way to market.  Unlike many of our larger-scale counterparts, we the varieties we plant are selected for maximum flavor and vigor, not storage life.  In addition, we strive to pick our berries at the peak of ripeness, not when they pack the best.

And, even if berries are picked under ideal conditions and handled with the utmost care, each one comes complete with lots of tiny, naturally occurring mold spores, just waiting for the opportunity to spring into action and ruin your fruit.  And what creates that opportunity? Moisture and lack of air circulation (which contributes to moisture!) allows ever-present mold spores to multiply like wildfire and turn into “fur coats for berries” when given a chance.

To get the very most from your berries in terms of flavor, nutrition and longevity, we recommend the following tips, and all will help you get the most enjoyment from your berry purchase.

In general, the more time spent out of refrigeration, the less storage life your berries will have, so

  • Come to market as early as possible, because the longer they stay in the heat, the more their shelf life can be shortened.
  • Always treat your berries as carefully as you would dairy or fresh seafood items, and  transport them home in a temperature controlled bag.
  • Return your berries to refrigeration as promptly as possible, if you are not going to consume them within an hour or two.
  • If you prefer eating your fruit at room temperature, then remove them from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to eat them.

Here’s what we feel you should reasonably expect in terms of keeping time–after prompt refrigeration–of the berries you purchase from Agriberry Farm:

Blackberries, Raspberries and Strawberries–We recommend that you plan to consume your berries within 48 hours of purchase. Damp harvest conditions may further decrease their stability, and please ask our market staff’s opinion at the time of purchase, because it can vary from day-to-day.

Blueberries–We recommend  that you “pop the top” on the plastic clam shell container when you get home to allow any condensation to evaporate.  Ideally, blueberries should last several days.

Here are a few other suggestions that may help extend the life and favor of your berries:

  • Before you refrigerate your berries, carefully turn them out of their container onto a cloth or paper towel and inspect them for any “troublemakers,” which might just need to be eaten immediately! And, if you can find the space storing them in the fridge spread out flat can be a great option.
  • If you decide to wash your berries, please wait until immediately before you use them. Returning damp berries to the fridge invites mold.
  • Consider giving your berries a spritz of a mild white vinegar solution–one part vinegar and nine parts water–as a natural way to help discourage any mold spores, or, you can prepare the solution then dump the
    berries into the mixture and gently swirl it around until the berries are fully immersed, then drain and dry your berries before placing them in refrigeration.
  • Refrigerate your berries in a container that allows air flow around the berries, such as a colander placed inside a larger, loosely covered container or one of the commercially available storage containers, such as the Fresh-Works line by Rubbermaid, which comes highly recommended by our CSA members and other long-time customers.

Feel like you did everything right and your berries still didn’t hold up like they should have?

PLEASE: Let us know as soon as possible, because if you’re not happy, we want to make it right!!

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