Berries are known for their health benefits, and we often find ourselves stocking up to have them during the week. Blackberries and strawberries are some of the most commonly bought berries from the supermarket. But just because they are berries, can they be stored together?
You can not store strawberries and blackberries together. Strawberries keep well in slightly moist places, while blackberries must be stored in a dry place. Unless you store them using a non-conventional method, such as flash freezing, it is best to keep the two separated.
This article will look at various storage methods and processes and how they affect the two berries differently. Keep on reading to learn about these different ways in which you can store the two berries. While it is best to keep the two separate, some storage methods allow the two to be stored together 1.
Ideal Way to Clean Strawberries and Blackberries
For much of this process, both strawberries and blackberries follow the same process. The first step to storing any produce is to clean it properly 2. Berries are no exception. The key to keeping strawberries and blackberries fresh is to kill any spores that are on the fruit. These berries carry mold spores that may cause them to go bad very quickly 3.
You can use vinegar to remove the mold from the berries.
- Pour one cup of white vinegar in a bowl, then add eight cups of water to it.
- Put the berries in this vinegar bath, and let them sit in the vinegar-water bath for five to six minutes.
- Gently wash the berries removing any dirt or stem from the fruits.
- The vinegar should have killed the spores by now.
Blackberries need a slightly different treatment than strawberries 4. After washing the berries, drain them into a colander, and rinse thoroughly under running water to get the vinegar taste out. Remember that blackberries are thin-skinned compared to strawberries, so they need to be handled with extra care.
While strawberries can be dried by roughly wiping them with a cloth, blackberries need to be patted dry on a towel as it is a more delicate fruit.
Alternatively, you can do a hot water bath for the berries as the water’s high temperature has been known to remove spores, thus extending the shelf life of the berries. Organic produce cleaners are also a great option for cleaning fresh berries. Dry them the same way as mentioned above before storing them.
Storing Strawberries and Blackberries
When it comes to storing the two berries, both strawberries and blackberries have an extended lifespan if they are refrigerated. But both these berries need to be stored differently, as they respond to moisture differently. It is important to remember that blackberries are more delicate and may become contaminated with harmful viruses easily 5. This becomes apparent during long haul shipping of the berries over long distances 6.
Blackberries and strawberries also have different shelf lives. Blackberries last for about three to six days in the fridge, while strawberries last for about five to seven days.
In Different Containers
It is important to be extra careful when choosing the containers in which you plan to store the berries. Most berries, including blackberries, can be stored in a dry container. However, strawberries tend to lose moisture fast.
When storing these fruits in a container, it is recommended to leave the lid slightly open so that there is no moisture build-up. Unnecessary moisture, especially in blackberries, will cause the fruit to rot much quicker rendering it inedible.
The blackberries need to be stored atop a dry paper towel in a container as they live longer in dry environments. Strawberries need an added layer of a damp towel on top. This ensures that the strawberries keep getting the moisture it needs and does not dry up in the fridge.
In the Fridge
Strawberries and blackberries that are bought for a regular household consumption need to be stored in the fridge.
Like the celebrated writer, Stephen Satterfield advises, to keep the berries dry in the container in which you bought them, and only wash the amount that you intend to eat while you keep the rest of them in a dry and breathable container. This is especially helpful with blackberries that do not respond well to prolonged dampness and start going downhill quickly.
In the Freezer
If you plan on storing the berries for relatively longer periods, perhaps you could consider the freezer. Here, again, the process is simple. Wash and dry the strawberries and blackberries and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. The reason for laying them out in a single layer is to ensure that they do not freeze in clumps 7.
If you are storing the berries this way, then both blackberries and strawberries can be stored in Ziploc Slider Storage Bags. These storage bags have an easy close slider and are made of a durable film. The bottom part of these bags are expandable providing an increased area at the base of the bag. These bags are also safe for use in microwaves. You will only need to open the zipper about an inch to provide a vent before you pop it into the microwave.
You do not need to pop the berries into the microwave. Instead, let them thaw naturally. If the two berries freeze separately on the baking sheet, they will stay that way in the Ziploc bag. This is one of the exceptions where both strawberries and blackberries can be stored together.
Other Methods of Storing Blackberries and Strawberries Long Term
Apart from storing them in your fridge or the freezer, the National Center for Home Food Preservation has recommended other ways to preserve berries. Some of these processes include fruit leather and canning 8.
Blackberries have a very high acid content, and so they can be canned whole and by using a boiling water bath canner. All varieties of berries can be canned whole except for strawberries that tend to become mushy and lose their texture and taste during the canning process 9.
If you are planning to store your berries for the long term, you can opt for canning as a preservation method for your blackberries. However, it will not be as effective for the strawberries.
Strawberries and blackberries can be used to make a mixed berry jam. The sugar acts as the preserving agent and helps in keeping the fruits edible for a long time. This is another such exception where strawberries and blackberries can be stored together.
Drying food is one of the oldest methods of preservation, and most of the berries can be preserved for a long duration using this method. While strawberries are cut in half and dehydrated, blackberries need to be pureed and poured into the dehydrator to turn it into fruit leather.
In this video, you can see how blackberry fruit leather is made:
Once the fruits are dehydrated, they become leathery and pliable. Dehydrated blackberries and strawberries can then be wrapped individually in butter paper and stored in moisture-proof containers. Fruit leather can be stored up to two to four weeks at room temperature and can last up to a year in the freezer.
Find out if raspberries or strawberries are better in my article, Raspberry vs Strawberry: Which is Better? A Comparison.
While there are different ways the two berries can be stored, there are certain methods that increase their shelf life. Unless a storing method allows for it, it is best not to store strawberries and blackberries. This will help extend the shelf life of the berries and allow you more time to enjoy them.
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- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Freezing
- University of California: Strawberries: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
- Wikipedia: Mold
- The American Heart Association: Keep Fruits & Vegetables Fresher Longer
- FDA: FDA Sampling Frozen Berries for Harmful Viruses
- USDA: Strawberries and Other Berries
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Freezing Strawberries
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Selecting, Preparing and Canning Fruit – Berries Whole
- Washington State University: Preserving Berries