Storing berries so that they do not go bad might seem like a Herculean task. However, it is entirely possible to store these berries and ensure that they remain fresh for weeks. If you have multiple types of berries in your refrigerator, say blueberries and strawberries, you might be wondering if you can store them together.
You can store blueberries and strawberries together in a large, specialized container that has a paper towel at the bottom. Before storing these berries together, you should be giving them a vinegar or hot water bath to ensure that they stay fresh.
If you love berries, buy them frequently, and are interested in learning more about them, keep reading this article. You will understand why berries go bad, how to store berries properly, and why you can store berries like blueberries and strawberries together.
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How to Store Strawberries and Blueberries Together
Even before buying any berries, if you want them to last for more than a few hours, you need to pick the right kind of berries 1. Here are the kinds of berry packets that you need to avoid:
- A wet absorbent pad
- Green berries
- Berries with mold
Now that you have bought your berries, you need to store them properly 2. Take the following steps:
- Discard any moldy or shriveled-up berries.
- Throw away the plastic berry packet and absorbent pad.
- Run a vinegar bath for your berries.
- Store them in a large container padded with paper towels.
Many websites mention that washing your berries when you do not plan to eat them immediately is a cardinal sin. This is only partially correct. It is true that washing them and putting them away will increase moisture content and make it more likely for mold to grow.
Running your berries a vinegar bath, or a hot water bath to kill off mold spores and dry it immediately after will prevent moisture retention.
For a vinegar bath, you will need:
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 cup white vinegar
To wash the berries, simply follow the instructions below:
- Combine the mixture in a large bowl.
- Immerse all the berries in and swirl around for a few minutes.
- Drain the berries.
- Rinse them with cold water until all traces of the vinegar aroma is gone.
- Put them on a dry paper towel and pat until completely dry.
Although vinegar is not guaranteed to eradicate any bacteria and germs, it can get rid of about 70% of them and is a much safer option than using household chemicals like bleach or soap.
If you have any concerns about your berries tasting or smelling like vinegar, do not worry. As long as you only leave the berries in for a few minutes and wash them thoroughly, they will retain their original taste and smell.
If you do not have any vinegar in your kitchen, a less effective method to kill off mold is using a hot water bath at 145℃ (293℉).
Now that you have clean berries, you should store them together in a large container lined with a paper towel. Ensure that there is sufficient space between each berry as they will spoil otherwise, and be sure not to use an airtight container to reduce ethylene concentration. If you need new or better containers, Amazon sells a variety of great choices and ideas. Check them out by clicking here, food storage containers.
When the paper towel becomes damp, change it out regularly because even the cold temperature of a fridge is not enough to prevent mold growth.
It is also essential to store these berries in your fridge for freshness. Otherwise, your berries will suffer damage caused by the light, air, and microorganisms in the atmosphere. Keep them at an eye-level, so you spot them whenever you open the fridge, and they do not end up rotting in the corner.
If you want to store them longer, use a freezer to freeze them. This is an amazing way to maintain firmness, texture, and prevent spoilage.
Why Can You Store Blueberries and Strawberries Together?
This question is directly related to the question of how fruits become ripe. Fruits ripen due to a variety of factors—from enzyme action to the breakdown of chlorophyll. However, the most appropriate factor to consider to solve the question of why you can store blueberries and strawberries together is the gas ethylene.
All fruits produce a gas called ethylene during respiration, which increases the rate at which fruit ripens 3. If you place the fruit in an ethylene-rich environment, it will ripen more quickly than if you had placed it in an ethylene-poor environment 4.
Due to this, fruit can be divided into categories based on the amount of ethylene that they produce. These categories are known as climacteric and non-climacteric fruits 5. Climacteric fruits produce an increasing amount of ethylene as they reach the optimum state of ripeness.
This creates a feedback loop where the more ethylene a climacteric fruit produces, the faster it ripens, and the riper it is, the more ethylene it produces. Due to this factor, climacteric fruits like bananas can be immaturely picked as they mature off the plant. This extends shelf life.
The other category of fruits is known as non-climacteric fruit. These fruits have to be picked only when they are mature because they will not produce increasing amounts of their own ethylene to increase the rate of ripening once picked. If you pick unripe raspberries, they will stay unripe for a long time unless you place them near climacteric fruit.
As luck would have it, blueberries are climacteric, and strawberries are non-climacteric. Any ethylene that your blueberries produce will help any unripe strawberries to ripen faster. Thus, it would be wise to store blueberries and strawberries together.
However, large concentrations of ethylene will cause the fruit to shrivel up and look unappealing, so it would be wise to consume these berries as soon as possible.
Find out if raspberries or strawberries are better in my article, Raspberry vs Strawberry: Which is Better? A Comparison.
Why Do Berries Go Bad?
All fruit ripens and spoils, but berries seem to do so much more quickly than other varieties of fruits, possessing a shelf life of only a few days when not frozen 6. But why does this happen?
Even if you cannot visually see any defect in your fresh berries, any berries that you buy or pick come with mold spores attached 7. These spores are carried around by air currents, and when they fall on any piece of organic material that contains water and food. Water-rich berries make prime targets.
In addition to this, most berries are porous and prone to absorbing water, especially the strawberry, making it even more appealing for mold to grow.
In this case, you need to take specialized steps to store your blueberries and strawberries properly. The section below will address how to store them together.
It is possible to not only store blueberries and strawberries together, but also other kinds of berries. However, it would be best if you always did the necessary research to avoid inadvertently ending up reducing the shelf life instead of increasing it.
If you are the forgetful type, it is good to transform these berries by using them in smoothies, milkshakes, or even cakes and pies as soon as you buy them. This means that you can store these food items in your fridge for a longer period, and you will not need to worry about wasting your time and money by forgetting to consume these fruits.
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You do not necessarily need to give up on consuming berries forever because they keep going bad because, with these handy tips, you will be able to enjoy the berries you held off on consuming.
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity in Different Types of Berries
- Foodal: How To Get The Most Out Of Fresh Berries
- The University of Maine: The Role of Ethylene in Fruit Ripening
- BMC Biology: Q&A: How do plants respond to ethylene and what is its importance?
- Wikipedia: Climacteric (botany
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Harvest date and storage effect on fruit size, phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of wild blueberries of NW Ontario, Canada
- CDC: Basic Facts about Mold and Dampness