We all know it’s important to thoroughly wash the produce we purchase before serving it up on a plate. The most important step in preparing berries for a dish is rinsing them clean.
Rinsing berries in advance and then storing in the refrigerator can lead to mold very quickly.
How can you be sure you are getting your strawberries as clean as possible as well as extend the shelf life of the fruits that are bringing us into summer?
There’s one ingredient that is inexpensive, makes a difference in getting your fruit ready and you probably have it on hand right now. Reach under your kitchen sink, or wherever you keep your white vinegar, and bring out the powerhouse cleaner.
The folks over at Cook’s Illustrated are always full of reliable kitchen-tested ideas and this one extended the amount of time fresh berries lasted in our refrigerator. Make a white vinegar bath in a bowl using a 3 to 1 ratio of three cups of water to one cup white wine vinegar.
The acidity of the vinegar kills any bacteria or spores that are on the berries and the water helps rinse them clean. Place whole berries in the vinegar bath. Remove berries with a strainer and place on paper towels.
Line your salad spinner with paper towels and spin the berries until they are thoroughly dry. The paper towels are there to make sure all of the liquid is pulled from the berries and absorbed someplace else.
This step removes most of any residue from the berries. It’s the residual water left on berries that creates an environment to increase moldiness at a rapid rate when they get stored in the refrigerator.
As a final step, get an air-tight container to store your berries in and line with additional paper towels. Place the berries in the container and leave a gap when covering to allow any moisture to escape and stay away from the berries.
When you find a colorful basket of berries you want them to last as long as you can to use in recipes for salads or desserts. Nothing is more disappointing than seeing a beautiful bounty of berries go moldy in the refrigerator.
Be sure and follow this method for all the berries that will be filling your market in the months ahead!
Tomorrow will include a recipe idea for berries that is easy to make and adds a twist to dessert. See you then!