Even the most hardcore strawberry lovers have to come to the realization that strawberries can be pretty dirty, whether you buy them straight from the farm or from the grocery store.
Strawberries are one of the crops containing the highest amount of pesticide residue, so they do need a good wash before being eaten.
But don’t freak out just yet. If you’re worried about consuming trace amounts of pesticides in your food, you’ve come to the right place.
So how do you wash strawberries? The best ways to wash strawberries include rinsing them in cold water, using a natural veggie wash or vinegar mixture, or soaking them in a salt solution.
Understanding how to wash strawberries, and how to keep them fresh for longer, is your best bet to enjoying strawberries without worrying about any of the nasty stuff you don’t want in your body.
Do You Really Need To Wash Strawberries?
Yes, you do really need to wash strawberries. They are on top of the list of produce that contains pesticide residue. It is much healthier and safer to wash them before consumption.
It does help to purchase organic strawberries, as they should not contain pesticides.
However, this is not always possible, and you will still need to wash them first to remove dirt or small bugs. Unfortunately, no pesticides often means a tradeoff for a higher likelihood of bugs in your produce.
Strawberries contain such high levels of pesticides because of the process used to destroy nearly everything in the soil which strawberries grow in, called fumigation.
Rinsing strawberries thoroughly in cold water can help remove up to 80% of leftover pesticides, which is a considerable amount.
How To Wash Strawberries To Remove Pesticides
The first thing to remember about washing strawberries is that they should only be washed when you are going to be eating them immediately.
You should not wash strawberries in advance, no matter how tempting it might be to get them all cleaned in one go.
This is because strawberries are like sponges, and the added moisture kept in when washing the strawberries can cause them to spoil faster, get softer, and lose their taste.
There are a few options when it comes to washing strawberries to remove pesticides:
- Keep it simple and wash them well in cold water.
- Use a veggie wash.
- Wash in a vinegar solution.
- Soak in a salt solution.
While each method is effective for removing pesticides and other residues, using a veggie wash does give you a better chance of getting rid of more of the nasty stuff you might find on fresh strawberries.
How To Wash Strawberries With Water
Washing strawberries with water is the simplest way to do it. It involves placing the strawberries under cold running water and washing each one.
The strawberries only need to be under the cold running water for around 20 seconds, but you do have to make sure that each strawberry has been rinsed well.
- Go through the punnet of strawberries and remove any bad or spoiled ones. Discard any strawberries which are bruised, moldy, mushy, or not ripe yet. The right strawberries to keep are ones that are plump and have a deep red color.
- Do not remove the stem before you wash the strawberry. Keep the strawberry intact. Removing the stem will lead to the strawberry absorbing more water.
- Place the strawberries in a large colander. Do not wash them in a bowl or pan, as this will then leave them to soak in the water and absorb too much moisture.
- Place the colander with the strawberries under clean running water.
- Move the strawberries around gently with your hands to ensure that each one is washed and cleaned.
- Alternatively, if you do not have a colander, you could fill a bowl with clean cold water, and wash each strawberry in the water one at a time, making sure that none are left to soak. Do not let them be submerged.
- Once the strawberries are washed, you should let them drain in the colander for a minute.
- Once they have sat to drain, pat them dry with a paper towel, being careful not to damage the fruit.
- You can also lay the strawberries out on a clean kitchen towel and give them a gentle rub to dry. If the strawberries are left wet, they could go bad faster. Leaving them to air dry also means that they will absorb more water and lose their sweet taste.
How To Wash Strawberries With Veggie Wash
Veggie wash can be purchased at most grocery stores and is a gentle way to wash fruit and vegetables, but does offer more of a thorough clean than just using water.
Veggie wash is great to keep on hand for all of your produce, especially if you mainly purchase from a grocery store.
- You first need to prepare the veggie wash solution. Fill up half a clean sink or bowl with cold water, and mix in the recommended amount of veggie wash, and stir it in properly.
- Go through the strawberries and throw away strawberries that are moldy, bruised, or mushy.
- Pick up two to three strawberries at a time.
- Swirl the strawberries through the veggie wash for around 30 seconds each.
- You should keep the strawberries moving in the veggie wash to avoid them soaking in any excess moisture.
- Rinse the strawberries under cold running water to remove any veggie wash residue.
- Lay the strawberries out on a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry.
How To Keep Strawberries Fresh With Vinegar
There is also the option to wash strawberries with vinegar, which not only helps to remove any dirt and residue, but also to keep the strawberries fresh.
Other than clearing the skin of the strawberries from pesticides, it also gets rid of excess dirt, grime, and bacteria lurking on the surface.
The vinegar also stops the strawberries from spoiling in the fridge too fast and will stop them going fuzzy too quickly.
Here’s how to keep strawberries fresh with vinegar:
- Go through the strawberries and remove any which are mushy, moldy, or bruised. Do not clean any which are not ripe yet, and keep the stems on until you are ready to eat the strawberries.
- Prepare the vinegar solution. You will need a sink and some white vinegar.
- Fill up a clean sink with cold water. Make sure it is not warm.
- Add 1 cup of vinegar in the sink for every 3 cups of water. Mix the solution together.
- Grab two or three strawberries to clean at a time, allowing each one to be cleaned thoroughly.
- Run the strawberries through the vinegar solution for around 30 seconds each. Keep them moving and do not allow them to just sit.
- Rinse the strawberries under cold water to remove any excess vinegar that may be on the surface.
- Lay the strawberries out on a kitchen towel and gently pat them dry.
Can I Wash Strawberries With Apple Cider Vinegar?
Yes, you can. White vinegar is what is usually recommended to clean strawberries, but you can wash them with apple cider vinegar, and it works just as well to wash the strawberries clean and to keep them fresher for longer.
The same goes for washing other fruits and vegetables.
Washing Strawberries With Salt
A new trend is to wash strawberries in a strong salt bath. Those who have tried this trick may have witnessed little bugs crawling out of their strawberries.
Disgusting, we know, but consuming some of these little creepy crawlies is somewhat unavoidable when you don’t have the prior knowledge of knowing how to wash your vegetables, or even that you need to in the first place.
While this might be the last thing you want to hear, it should open your eyes to what you can find in some of the fresh produce you buy.
But don’t let this stop you from eating strawberries, because the good news is that you can get rid of them.
To soak the strawberries in a salt solution, you should make a solution of saltwater in a bowl using one part white vinegar, four parts cold water, and 10% salt.
You can leave the strawberries to soak in this particular solution because the salt will help keep them from absorbing too much moisture.
The strawberries should be left to soak in the salt wash for around 5 minutes, and after this, you might notice little crawlies squirming out of the strawberries.
These are the offspring of fruit flies, which can be laid inside and on the surface of strawberries and other crops. The eggs are laid inside the fruit before they are harvested, and then these grow within the strawberries.
This is pretty horrifying to witness, but it is good to give your strawberries a salt and vinegar bath to get rid of any baby fruit flies that might be there. We’re pretty sure you won’t be so keen on adding them to your breakfast routine.
How To Store Fresh Strawberries
There are so many different ways to enjoy strawberries, but you can only enjoy strawberries in different ways if you manage to keep them fresher for longer.
Here are a few different ways to store your strawberries to keep them fresher for longer.
Washing the strawberries in vinegar wash can keep them fresher for longer in the fridge by removing impurities and dirt that might make them turn bad sooner.
Once you have followed the above steps on how to do a vinegar bath, you can then rinse the original packaging of the strawberries and place them back in the fridge, or you can dry the strawberries well and place them in an airtight container to be placed in the fridge.
The strawberries can last for up to two weeks if stored this way in the fridge, as long as you make sure to get rid of any old, bruised or moldy strawberries.
While you should not cut the strawberries before you eat them, it is fine to do so if you are going to be storing them in an airtight container.
Many people choose this method to store their strawberries in the fridge, as it does help keep them fresher for longer.
You do not have to wash the strawberries before storing them this way. All you need is a paper towel and an airtight container for the fridge.
Here’s the process:
- Cut the stems off the strawberries.
- Lay a paper towel down on the bottom of the airtight container you will be using.
- Lay the strawberries face down on the paper towel, ensuring that they are spread out and not too close on top of each other.
- Close the lid of the container and label it with the date of packing.
Using this method, the strawberries should stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week. This, however, depends on the quality of the strawberries before being refrigerated.
If you are wanting your strawberries to have an extended shelf life, your best option would be to freeze them.
This is best used for when you are wanting your strawberries to be used for smoothies, as they will be softer and mushier when thawed.
- Cut the strawberry stems.
- Place the strawberries in a plastic freezer bag or container.
- Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal shut.
- Label with the date of freezing.
The strawberries should be used within 3 months of freezing. After that, they will begin to deteriorate in quality.
For freezing chocolate-covered strawberries, we have another guide here.
Should Fresh Strawberries Be Refrigerated?
Unless you are going to be eating the strawberries straight away, you should keep them in the fridge. You can leave them in their original packaging on the countertop for up to 2 days before they will start spoiling.
Remember that you should also remove moldy, bruised or mushy strawberries straight away so that they do not cause the other strawberries to spoil early.
Only wash the strawberries when you are ready to eat them. If you are not planning to eat the fresh strawberries within 2 days, then they should be refrigerated.
Does Lemon Juice Keep Strawberries Fresh?
Yes, lemon juice does keep strawberries fresh. The acidity of the lemon juice stops the strawberries from becoming moldy or rotten too soon and actually enhances the taste of the strawberries and helps them taste fresher.
Why Do Strawberries Mold So Quickly?
Strawberries grow almost directly on the ground. Because of this, they are more prone to picking up mold spores.
Strawberries heat up once they are harvested, as they lose their natural transpiration cooling system. Mix this with a little bit of moisture, and the mold starts growing quickly.
Can You Cut Mold Off of Strawberries?
If there is a small amount of mold on the strawberry, you can cut it off and eat the rest of the strawberry.
Just make sure that the rest of the strawberry is fine and doesn’t have a strange smell or taste.
What’s With The Videos Of Bugs Crawling Out Of Strawberries?
We hate to say it, but people have been accidentally eating bugs for centuries. Before you freak out and stop eating produce altogether, this isn’t an unhealthy or unnatural occurrence.
These bugs are so tiny that they’re virtually undetectable and they don’t cause harm to the human body. Consuming a few of these guys throughout your lifetime is pretty inevitable.
Luckily, cleaning your produce thoroughly can help reduce how many unwanted critters you ingest.
For more information, we found a great video by the Andrea Jean Cleaning channel on YouTube.
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