Strawberries are in season right now, and you don’t want your berries going to waste. Improper storage will cause berries to rot within days. Sure, you can extend their life in the fridge, but there are so many ways to store strawberries!
Besides the refrigerator, you can put them in the freezer for smoothies later, or turn the berries into jam, jelly, or other delicious snacks to preserve your strawberries for later use.
Don’t let your delicious berries go to waste; try one (or more!) of of these nine ways to store strawberries.
9 Ways to Store Strawberries
Most berries have a relatively short shelf life when compared to apples or oranges that seem to last for weeks in the right conditions. By learning all the best ways to store strawberries and how to preserve berries, you’ll be able to reduce any waste and enjoy your strawberries for weeks (or months) to come.
1. Store Fresh in the Fridge
If you know that you will use your berries within a week, the best way to store strawberries is in the refrigerator, but you have to make sure to store the fruits properly. Proper storage techniques extend the life of strawberries, so they might last even longer than seven days in the fridge!
The first thing you should know is that washing your strawberries before storage is a big no-no. Unlike other fruits, washing berries any type before storing in the fridge leads to moisture problems. It reduces the shelf life. Instead, wash them right before eating them, and never soak strawberries. They absorb too much water.
Store strawberries in the crisper drawer because it keeps your berries moist. Keep the stem on the berry, and keep them in a partially closed container lined with paper towels.
2. Try a Vinegar Solution in the Fridge
People are always experimenting with new ways to store strawberries and other produce to see what method works the best. Some swear that putting your berries in a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water and then draining makes them last longer.
You have to dry the strawberries after soaking; some use salad spinners to help dry them even more. Line the salad spinner with paper towels to soak up more moisture. Then put them in the fridge.
It’s worth a shot to see if using vinegar makes a difference in the shelf life of your strawberries!
3. Freeze Strawberries
Sometimes, you won’t get to your berries within a week, but you don’t want to preserve them just yet. The next best way to store strawberries is in the freezer; freezing at peak freshness preserves the flavor of the berries best.
Freezing strawberries requires a few extra steps beyond using the refrigerator, but doing the work makes sure that your berries retain their flavor and avoids freezer burn.
Here’s what you need to do.
Go through all of your strawberries and make sure you only have firm, ripe berries. Any that are mushy shouldn’t be frozen. Wash your berries, but make sure not to soak them. Next, remove the leaves and hull them, removing as much as the white interior as possible.
After that, you can slice the strawberries into dices, whole pieces, slices, or pureed. That’s up to you!
Spread your cut-up strawberries onto a baking sheet and freeze them for one hour. Doing this makes it easier to remove berries as need from freezer storage. After the berries are frozen, move them to the freezer container of your choice.
4. Dehydrate Strawberries
Another easy way to store strawberries is by dehydrating the berries. It makes a shelf-stable snack that kids and adults love. My kids prefer dehydrated strawberries over any other type of dehydrated fruit.
The dehydration process for strawberries is easy. Start by washing and hulling the berries, and then you need to slice them. Try to make the slices as evenly thick as possible because it helps everything dehydrate evenly.
Spread out the strawberry slices in the dehydrator, making sure to leave space between each slice. If you don’t, air won’t be able to circulate and dehydrate the fruits.
Dehydration takes between 8-14 hours; you’ll need to check often and wait until there is no more moisture left in the berries. Any moisture encourages the growth of mold.
5. Make Strawberry Fruit Leather
Every summer, we make all kinds of different fruit leathers, and one of the first I ever made was strawberry fruit leather. It’s a great way to store strawberries in a different form that is still delicious and nutritious for your family.
Making strawberry fruit leather involves washing and hulling the strawberries. They need to be crushed and mixed with lemon juice and sugar; this pulls out the liquid from the berries. Spread the mix out on a baking sheet and put into your oven at the lowest setting.
I typically spread parchment paper over the baking sheet first, so that when it’s done and cooled, I can use scissors and cut strips like homemade fruit roll-ups for my kids.
6. Make Strawberry Jam
One of the first canning recipes that beginners try is making strawberry jam, and it’s a great way to store strawberries in a usable form for all-year usage. Who doesn’t love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with all kinds of delicious strawberry jam spread over the top?
Even if you’ve never made jam before, making strawberry jam is an easy project. All you need is strawberries, sugar, pectin, and lemon juice – that’s it! You have to wash, slice, and dice the strawberries, and then heat them up, crushing them with a spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients and increase the heat, letting the mixture boil.
Then, ladle your strawberry jam into jars and complete the canning process.
7. Canning Whole Strawberries
Canning is my jam; I love to can as much as possible. Full pantry shelved lined with home-canned jars makes my heart sing with happiness. Last summer, I tried canning whole strawberries for the first time, and it might be my new favorite way to store strawberries.
Not only is it so versatile, but it’s incredibly easy!
Like other storage methods, strawberries must be washed and hulled in the beginning. Then, put them into a bowl and sprinkle sugar over the top of the berries. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount of sugar; a dusting works.
Now, let the berries sit for six to eight hours as the juices release. After this, you’ll be able to heat them up and pack the canning jars. Canned whole strawberries are a delicious snack by themselves!
8. Make Strawberry Pie Filling
Strawberry pie screams summer, especially when you add ice cream or whipped cream with it – YUM!
You can save this bite of summer for the winter when snow covers the ground. My family loves strawberry pie filling, so much so that I make sure my pantry has several quarts canned and ready to go whenever the craving strikes.
Canning strawberry pie filling starts with washing and hulling the strawberries. Then, you have to cut them into decent-sized pieces; don’t make them too small. Add the fruits, sugar, and Clear Jelly to a pot and cook together, bringing it to a bubble. You will need to add lemon juice as well.
It’s safe to use a water bath canner when preserving strawberry pie filling.
9. Make Strawberry Sauce
Here is another one of my favorite ways to store strawberries – I love them, can’t you tell? Recently, I discovered that I prefer strawberry sauce over my pancakes more than I like syrup.
Start by washing, hulling, and chopping the strawberries. The thinner you cut the pieces, the thinner your sauce will be. You might want to crush the strawberry pieces with a spoon to make a better consistency.
Put all the strawberries into a bowl and sprinkle sugar over the top of the strawberries. Wait 30 minutes to one hour. The longer that it sits, the thicker and saucier it gets.
You can store the strawberry sauce in the fridge for three days or freeze it. Another option is to can strawberry sauce if you want it to last even longer.