If you’ve found yourself with an abundance of strawberries, you’re probably wondering how long fresh strawberries last.
This guide is meant to help you out with fresh strawberries, for the most part. And as it turns out, strawberries will last more than you expect for such a delicate fruit.
So how long do strawberries last ?
Fresh strawberries will last for up to 7 days in the fridge if stored properly. If you plan to eat them after more than 7 days you should be freezing the strawberries to make them last longer.
Exactly how long these fruits will be edible really depends on what you’re planning to do with them, where you’re storing them, and their overall quality and ripeness.
I want to talk about that for a bit. Ripe strawberries. They’re a bit of a dying breed, at least if you buy them from the supermarket like most folks end up doing.
The original ripe, sweet strawberry is a delicate fruit, it can and will go bad overnight, much like bananas or avocado.
But we’ve demanded more and more strawberries, so what we get now is a hardy fruit that’s going to hold up during transport and also keep for at least a week in a supermarket fridge.
Ever notice how tough strawberries are on the inside ? If they’re not bright red inside, they’re not ripe. And most of the time, you’ll find them white inside.
I think all of this should be taken into consideration when figuring out how long to keep your strawberries. They’re not the ones we used to know.
From this point on in this article, I’m going to be talking about fresh strawberries bought from the store. If you buy from a local farm they might be a little less hardy, but that’s something you should discuss with the farmer.
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How to store strawberries on the counter, room temp
Fresh strawberries usually come in a pack of about half a pound, at best. And when you buy them, you’ll usually find them in those small open fridges near fruits.
They’ve been kept real well in that fridge, but they won’t keep as well in your home at room temp.
Do not leave for 24 hours at room temp (20-22 C/68-71 F) !
Leaving them overnight is alright, but anything past 12 hours is going to promote fermentation and the strawberries will go bad.
The more you have together, the quicker it will happen, because strawberries are susceptible to pressure and moisture.
If there’s lots of strawberries, they’ll squish each other and produce a bit of juice. That juice will contribute to the overall moisture around them and break down the red flesh even faster, which will squish them even more.
You get the picture. Try to space them out, as much as you can because the ones on the bottom are going to be the most vulnerable.
If necessary use two plates, and possible a couple paper towels between layers to soak up some moisture.
Also try your best to ONLY wash the strawberries you’re planning to immediately use. You might be tempted to rinse them all so you have a quick, clean snack for a few days but you’ll only ruin then faster.
No matter how much you pat them dry, there will be some extra tiny water droplets that will raise the moisture level.
So as annoying as it may be, only wash the ones you’re going to eat right then and there.
How to store strawberries in the fridge
If you’re keeping your strawberries in the fridge you might have a better chance of seeing them through an entire week.
If you leave them unwashed, and their container unopened, you can find them still edible 5-7 days after bringing them home (assuming they were in prime shape then).
However if you wash them and then place them in the fridge you should consume them within 48 hours. Actually 36 is ideal, but you can stretch it to 48 and only find a couple mushy parts.
As mentioned before, washing the strawberries will give them more moisture and they will start to decompose.
Always make sure to check the strawberries before buying them. Turn the container around, try and look in the spaces between them. If there’s any mold, put them down.
I suggest you put them down even if you find just a couple of soft spots (darker, purplish discolorations) because those will propagate real quick.
If you’ve bought frozen strawberries (or froze them yourself), then you should know they’re good for up to 12 months. As long as your freezer works just fine and you’re not thawing them and putting them back in.
There’s going to be a definite change in texture once you thaw them. They will be mushy and not good at all to use raw as toppings for cakes or ice cream.
However they’re still alright for preserve or making strawberry juice or ice cream.
Unopened canned strawberries will usually have a ‘best by’ date written on the can, either on the top or bottom, along with the lot number.
Most cases will last between 12 and 24 months if stored properly – cool, dry place – like a pantry or fridge.
If you’ve opened the can then you’ve got about 24 hours, if you’ve covered them tightly (plastic wrap or tin foil) and placed them in the fridge.
How to know when strawberries are bad
You’ll notice that in some cases the strawberries will still go off, even if you do your best to keep them safe. Sometimes it’s because you missed something, and sometimes it’s just their fault.
But you’ll know there’s something wrong with them if:
- you see mushy discolorations (grayish purple)
- they start smelling a little vinegary
- you notice some fuzz growing on them, even if it’s not full-on mold
Strawberries nowadays are bred more for hardiness and size than anything else. Flavor comes second, so the upside is that most the time they’ll be a little underripe, meaning they’ll go bad a little slower.
In any case, always keep your strawberries covered. Whether it’s just plastic wrap or a paper towel, there should be something covering them to keep them sealed.
What to do with extra strawberries
If you do find yourself with way too many strawberries, even after putting some of them away, there’s a few things you could do.
Simple, easy, and real sweet. Strawberry preserve is a nice way keep them over the winter. Also, you can gift these to friends who might be strawberry-challenged.
Cover them in chocolate and gift them
Another gifting option is to get some nice chocolate and really go to town on these strawberries. Clean them up nicely, maybe stick then on a skewer and drench them in melted chocolate.
If you cover them completely the chocolate will act as a barrier against air and moisture, keeping them safe for a little longer.
You can gift these to friends and family, or keep them for an extra-special treat for yourself.
Freeze them for later
Last case scenario. You’ve made preserve, you’ve given them away, you smothered them in chocolate.
You’ve still got a whole bunch left.
Freezing them is a good option, and they’ll keep just as long as the ones bought at the store. Just, again, remember that they’ll get real mushy when thawed so they won’t really be good for topping anything.
But they will make great additions to lemonade, sun tea, or ice cream (cut up small and swirled on top of ice cream like a sauce).
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Strawberries are really wonderful fruit. They’re almost always available and when ripe they taste amazing.
So knowing how long they last is really going to be helpful when you’ve got a whole bunch left and don’t know what to do with them.