Make Berries Last Longer With One Simple Ingredient

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Cut food waste with this clever tip on how to make berries last longer. You’ll never find a mushy strawberry lingering in your fridge again!

Berries taste delicious and are packed full of antioxidants and essential nutrients. However, these delicate delights have a short shelf life. So, how can you make your berries last longer and reduce food waste?

Blackberries in a bowl with a blue text box that reads a simple tip to make berries last longer.

As blackberries are in season in September, I thought I’d share with you a great tip to help make berries last longer in the fridge. Not just blackberries, but raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and any other berry you can care to think of. This is especially great if you’ve picked more blackberries than you can eat – something I’m prone to do when I’m foraging.

The secret to longer-lasting berries is quite surprising – vinegar! I love using vinegar as a great chemical-free cleaner. However, who would have guessed that using vinegar can help fruit last longer in the fridge?

How to Make Berries Last Longer

Bottle of apple cider vinegar next to a cup of blackberries

To make berries last longer, all you have to do is rinse your berries in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water. Alternatively, fill a bowl with one part vinegar to three parts water and give them a short soak for a minute.

White vinegar or apple cider vinegar works best for preserving berries.

Next, drain the berries, and pop them in a salad spinner lined with a piece of kitchen roll. Gently spin until the berries are completely dry. Then decant the berries into an airtight container lined with kitchen roll, and place it in the fridge.

If you don’t have a salad spinner then gently pat the fruit dry with a clean (dark-coloured!) tea towel. Then place them in the fridge in a sealed tub lined with a folded piece of kitchen roll to help absorb any water.

berries being washed with vinegar

This method works because the vinegar wash acts as an antiseptic agent – helping to remove any spores or bacteria on the surface of the fruit that can cause mould.

Meanwhile, completely drying the fruit also extends their life as well. This is because excess moisture speeds up the fruit’s decay, so keeping the berries dry slows down the rotting process.

Worried that your berries are going to taste of vinegar? Don’t worry. Simply wash them immediately prior to eating, and you or your dining companions will be none the wiser!

Does It Work Though?

My verdict is yes, washing berries in vinegar and then drying them does help to make them last longer.

Berries that I have picked in the past generally have started to go off after 24 hours. However, using the vinegar and drying technique, I was able to stretch my batch to five days.

It was at this point that I lost my nerve, and ate them! They perhaps could have lasted longer, however, I didn’t want to risk them rotting and wasting perfectly good food! Apparently, UK households waste 4.5 million tonnes of food a year, so anything we can do to reduce this is to be encouraged.

Will you be trying this? Let me know how you get on!

PS: I’ve got more handy food waste tips this way!

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  1. If you’ve missed the boat, and your blackberries have already gone off, you can also use the partially rotted berries for eco-dying. You could try solar dying a piece of silk, by rolling the berries up in silk, then placing the silk in a glass jar. Then fill the glass jar with hot water. Put the jar in a sunning spot for a month to allow the dye to seep into the cloth.(This can be inside on a sunny window or out in the garden. After a month, pop the jar in a freezer to kill off any mold that may have grown, once frozen, you can open the jar and rinse in clean cold water until the water runs clear. Voila, you will have a mottled tied-looking purple scarf.