Home Foods Why Do Strawberries Mold So Fast?

Why Do Strawberries Mold So Fast?

by Gina Elizabeth
How long do strawberries last

Why do strawberries go bad so fast? And how can you maintain maximum shelf life?

Why Strawberries Mold So Quickly

Mold can start growing very rapidly – that’s because there are mold spores in the air all the time. As soon as mold spores find a warm and wet environment they multiply quickly. Strawberries also soak up moisture easily, making them ideal for mold spores to settle. And that mold can spread through a whole basket of berries fast – causing strawberries to deteriorate significantly within 48 hours of picking.

Strawberries are among the most perishable fruits. They are also very sensitive to light and heat which makes them go bad faster than other fruits.

How To Prevent Mold On Strawberries

To keep your strawberries from getting moldy, and extend their shelf life:

  • Do not wash them until ready to eat.
  • Properly stored, strawberries will keep for about 5-7 days in the fridge.
  • You can easily kill mold and bacteria with a vinegar and water bath to maximize their shelf life.
  • Discard any bruised or moldy strawberries before refrigerating.

How To Keep Strawberries From Getting Moldy With Vinegar

  1. Discard any moldy strawberries.
  2. Place your strawberries in a large bowl. Then combine 4 cups cold water and 1 cup white vinegar and pour into the bowl. 
  3. Soak for a few minutes, then gently swish around for a minute to dislodge dirt and let the vinegar kill spores and bacteria.
  4. Drain the vinegar/water liquid, then rinse with cold water until vinegar aroma is gone.
  5. Spread them onto paper towels or a kitchen cloth to gently dry them.

Strawberries are highly perishable. They don’t last as long as apples, pears, and oranges. Another reason why strawberries spoil quickly is that they are also very sensitive to moisture and heat.

What can you do with strawberries to make them last longer?

Freeze strawberries

If you have too many clusters of strawberries and know you won’t be able to eat them before they go bad, your best bet is to freeze them. Freezing strawberries doesn’t take much time and effort.

Here’s how to freeze strawberries:

  1. Remove the strawberries from the stem and wash them.
  2. Pat them dry.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the strawberries on a baking tray in a single layer. Doing this is important if you want to prevent the strawberries from sticking to one another. 
  4. Transfer the baking tray with strawberries into the freezer. 
  5. Once the strawberries are all frozen and don’t stick to each other, transfer them into sealable plastic bags and store them in the freezer. 
  6. Use within 3 to 5 months for best flavor. You can keep strawberries in the freezer for up to a year

There is no need to thaw frozen strawberries. In fact, they are much better frozen, as thawing will cause them to soften. 

Frozen strawberries are an ideal snack. You can also use them to make cold shakes and smoothies.

You can chill juices and even alcoholic beverages like wine with the help of frozen strawberries. Frozen strawberries will act as delicious edible ice cubes that won’t water down your drinks!

How long do washed strawberries last?

If you prefer to wash strawberries as soon as you get home— rinse in cool, running water. Washed strawberries stay fresh for up to 2 days. Always make sure to remove moldy ones to prevent the others from molding, then spread them onto paper towels to gently dry them.

  • To prevent mold, do not wash strawberries until ready to eat or freeze/refrigerate
  • Keeping the stems on will help strawberries last longer
  • Wash your berries in a solution of vinegar and water, you can extend their shelf-life by days or even weeks.

How long do unrefrigerated strawberries last? 

Properly stored strawberries at room temperature keep well for 5 to 7 days. Remove the strawberries from their original container, and store them unwashed in a partially-closed container. Line the container with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. It is best to store strawberries in the fridge crisper for maximum freshness and shelf life. Strawberries stored in the fridge keep well for up to 14 days.

In this article, you will discover everything you need to know about how to prolong the shelf life of strawberries. 

As strawberries go bad quickly, we recommend buying them in smaller amounts so that you don’t end up wasting any of your products. The first and most important step to ensure that your strawberries have the longest shelf life is picking the best bunch.

Here’s everything else you need to know to make strawberries last longer:

How To Choose The Best Strawberries

There are four things to look for when buying strawberries:

  1. Strawberries should be firm and plump
  2. The overall color on the cluster of strawberries should be bright red and even
  3. Look for fresh green leaves
  4. Do not purchase strawberries with signs of mold

Aside from mastering the art of picking good strawberries, it is also important to learn about the proper storage condition of these fruits.

If you fail to store strawberries properly, even the freshest ones right from your local market will spoil in a matter of days. 

How to Store Strawberries in the Fridge

How long do strawberries last in the fridge?

Stawberries should last 5-7 days if properly stored in the refrigerator. The crisper drawer in the fridge is ideal. The humidity level in this drawer is perfect for strawberries. Check for mushy or discolored strawberries and discard them. To avoid mold, line your strawberries with a paper towel and do not wash your strawberries until you are ready to eat them.

The perfect temperature for storing strawberries is 32°F, which means the fridge is an ideal storage location for strawberries. Make sure your store them in a container that provides ventilation.

How Do You Make Strawberries Last Longer in the Fridge?

Here are a few tips you can use to keep strawberries stored in the fridge fresh longer: 

1. Store the Strawberries in the Back of the Fridge

Storing strawberries on the fridge door is a mistake you should avoid making. The temperature on the door is higher compared to other spots in the fridge.

Keeping the strawberries in the coolest spot of the fridge, such as the back of the refrigerator, is certainly a better option. 

The crisper drawer is an ideal place for storing strawberries. However, it is often full of other fruits and vegetables. Knowing where else you can store strawberries is important. 

2. Store Strawberries Separately from Strong-Smelling Products 

Strawberries tend to absorb odors. Whether it’s in the pantry or the fridge, you should always keep strawberries away from foods with a distinctive and strong smell, such as garlic or cheese.

You can store strawberries at room temperature in the pantry, or in the fridge depending on how long you want to make them last. No matter which storage method you use, there are two things to keep in mind when storing strawberries.

Firstly, you shouldn’t wash the strawberries all at once. Wash as many strawberries as you will be eating. Leave the rest unwashed as leaving water droplets in-between the strawberries will cause them to go bad sooner. 

And secondly, keep the strawberries well-ventilated. Airflow is key when you are trying to maintain the maximum freshness of your strawberries.

Strawberries from the supermarkets often come in plastic bags with holes. If you happen to buy strawberries in such bags, you can leave them there. 

3. Never Mix with Bad Strawberries

Never leave bad strawberries with your fresh strawberries, whether they are stored in the pantry or the fridge. Inspect the clusters of strawberries every other day and remove the bad ones. 

Doing this is more important than you think. Removing molded or rotten strawberries before they manage to affect the rest in the bunch will help you maintain their freshness much longer. 

How to Store Strawberries Without a Fridge

If you don’t like cold strawberries or there is no room in your fridge, you can store strawberries at room temperature. 

You can leave strawberries at room temperature only when you know you will be eating them throughout the day. In this case, however, you should make sure that the fruit is out of direct sunlight and heat sources. 

Additionally, before you put the strawberries into a bowl to display them beautifully on your kitchen counter, make sure to thoroughly dry them. 

Do strawberries last longer in the fridge or on the counter?

Fresh strawberries can go directly into the refrigerator, but will do just fine on the counter for a couple of days. Remove any bruised or otherwise marred berries and place the rest in a colander or open-weave basket to allow good airflow.

Does lemon juice keep strawberries fresh?

I’ve preserved cut fruit for at least 6 hours before using just lemon juice. Lemon juice inhibits the oxidation of the fruit which prevents browning as well of a loss of crispness. One lemon should be enough juice for a 1.5 quart bowl of cut fruit. Simply squeeze it over the fruit and toss gently to prevent bruising.

How to tell if strawberries have gone bad

The shelf life of strawberries largely depends on two factors. First, how good the strawberries were when you bought them. And second, whether you have been storing strawberries properly or not. 

You can easily tell whether strawberries are good or they have already gone bad.

Here the signs of bad strawberries:

  • Texture Changes -As they sit in the fridge or kitchen counter, strawberries lose their plumpness. While the slight softness of the strawberries that you have had for a few days is okay, overly soft and mushy strawberries should be discarded. 
  • Color Changes – Discoloration is another indicator of spoiled strawberries. If you notice lots of browning on the strawberries, toss them out. 
  • Off-Putting Smell – If the strawberries smell fermented or have a vinegary smell, don’t assume they’re aging like fine wine. It is time for them to go.
  • Mold – Mold is a serious alarm bell that it is high time you discarded those strawberries. 

It is important to always practice food safety and not eat strawberries that are going bad. If there are no signs of spoilage in your cluster of strawberries, you can go ahead and give them a try. 

Strawberry FAQs

What causes strawberry mold?

The fungus, Botrytis cinerea causes gray, fuzzy mold on strawberries. This mold infects fruits and flowers alike. Mold grows quickly in a warm and moisture environment. This is because mold is a fungi and needs water to grow. Mold spores in the air latch on easily to wet and warm strawberries and reproduce very quickly. Keep your strawberries dry until ready to eat.

Are moldy strawberries safe to eat?

Non-moldy strawberries that have touched moldy strawberries should be thrown away. It is important to always practice food safety and not eat strawberries that have gone bad.

What can I do with mushy strawberries?

Make strawberry Jam or Jelly. Making strawberry preserve is easy and requires only a few ingredients. If you have lots of strawberries that are about to go bad and you don’t know what to do with them, you can make strawberry jam.

Overripe strawberries the perfect candidate for other sweet treats.

Here are more ideas for what to do with mushy strawberries:

  • Strawberry Cobbler
  • Strawberry Pie
  • Strawberry Jam & Jelly
  • Strawberry Popsicles, Ice Cream, Sorbets
  • Strawberry Salsa
  • Strawberry Smoothie
  • Strawberry Cakes & Muffins
  • Strawberry Sangria and Cocktails (Daiquiris, Margaritas)
  • Strawberry Vinaigrettes & Salad Dressings
  • Strawberry Pancake/Waffle Garnish
  • Strawberry Smoothie

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