3 Best Hacks to Extend the Life of Fresh Strawberries

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Simple tips on how to keep strawberries fresh for longer.

pile of fresh strawberries on

Trying to figure out how to preserve strawberries for life? 🍓

Okay, maybe one carton won’t actually last for life, but we’ve got the top 3 hacks to keep those fresh berries sticking around a lot longer – that’s if you don’t eat them all beforehand. 😉

If you’re tired of wasting money on berries that go into the trash too quickly, then you’ll want to try these smart and easy ways to keep strawberries fresh longer!

holding a bowl full of strawberries

Here are the greatest hacks for how to store Strawberries at any stage:

  1. Recently-Bought Strawberries – Vinegar
  2. Wilting Strawberries – Ice Water
  3. Strawberries at Any Stage – Paper Towels

1. Cleaning strawberries with vinegar in a bowl makes them last longer.

Do this when you first buy strawberries.

dirty water bowl next to bowl of fresh strawberries and strawberries in containers with paper towel

Use a large bowl to make a diluted vinegar wash of 1 part white vinegar to 5 parts water. Soak your berries in the solution for a few minutes. The vinegar will remove the bacteria and mold spores which typically cause the fruit to go bad so quickly. In fact, see the photo above of what the water looks like after you rinse the strawberries. Yikes! 😳

Next, you’ll want to dry your berries thoroughly by either leaving them in a colander to air dry or carefully spinning them in a salad spinner. After drying, store your berries in the fridge.

But you’re probably wondering… do the strawberries taste like vinegar? 🤔

No, they don’t – we promise! And although I haven’t personally tried this method with other berries, I hear it works for raspberries and blackberries, too!

2. Soak strawberries in a bowl of ice water to make them fresher.

Do this when strawberries are starting to wilt.

hand holding a clear bowl filled with ice strawberries and water

Use a large bowl and fill it with ice and water. Dump strawberries in and let sit for 20 minutes. That’s it, folks! We originally saw this idea over at House Beautiful, and, according to one viral Instagram post, this hack actually works wonders on wilted strawberries. 🙌

We’re not entirely sure how ice water can produce such magic, but the proof is in the pictures, so if you’re looking to brighten up your strawberries, and make them look a bit plumper and fresh, then this will do the trick.

Of course, this hack will not work if you’re strawberries are already moldy, so don’t consider this a magic trick for turning bad food into something you just picked off the farm.

Hip Tip: We see you eyeing up that roll-up drying rack. You can read here why our team loves these and where you can score one!

3. Store strawberries with a paper towel to make them last even longer.

Do this any time until they’re gone.

hand holding a clear container of fresh strawberries in fridge

This trick is handy for a variety of berries! After you’ve completed our first or second hack above, you can layer on the freshness by storing your fruit in the fridge with a paper towel.

Like many situations in life, moisture will eventually create mold, so limiting it as much as possible on your berries will help keep them fresher for longer. The paper towel will help absorb all the moisture as the strawberries ripen in the fridge, so make sure you place it at the bottom of the container for the best results.

Many readers also commented that storing strawberries in a Mason jar in the coldest part of your fridge can keep your berries fresh, too. If you’ve got one on hand, give it a try!

hand holding a clear container of fresh strawberries with paper towel on bottom

Now it’s time to enjoy your fresh berries! Yum! 

Here’s how to make vegetables last longer, too.

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 53

  1. Katie

    Earlier this year I was told to store my strawberries in a mason jar and keep them in the coldest part of my fridge to make them last longer. It works! I’ve had strawberries stay fresh and bright red for weeks! Now I transfer my strawberries to a mason jar as soon as I bring them home. I definitely want to try the vinager trick now though!

    • Angie M.

      Yes I read about that too and it does work 🙂

    • Stacy Dawn Pokrinchak

      Yes I have been doing this for years!!!! it works

    • V

      A strawberry patch owner gave me this same tip. He said any glass jar will work. He also said to not wash them until you are ready to use/eat them to extend freshness.

    • Hipgrandma

      Do you put a lid on the jar?

      • Katie

        Yes, any jar with a lid will work.

    • Michelle P

      Ann Reardon from How to Cook That on YouTube showed us the mason jar trick in one of her debunking videos. I have done it ever since and absolutely nothing does better than a sealed mason jar!

    • Becky K

      Agree with others! This is truly the only way I store them! Large glass ball jar with lids. Do not wash strawberries first. I finally even convinced family/friends to use this method and they can’t believe how fresh and long they last.

  2. Lisa

    When should you cut the top off? Wait til you’re ready to eat or e we hen you do the vinegar wash? Thanks. 🍓

    • Kim

      I just pull the green top off, do the vinegar bath and then dry them. Works well!!

  3. Tammy

    Thanks for the tips. I ordered that drying rack when you’ve posted before and love it!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Yay! You’re welcome! Glad you are loving the rack, Tammy!

  4. Cami

    Do you have to keep them uncovered (including mason jar method) when stored in the refrigerator or have a lid on the container/mason jar?

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi Cami! We don’t cover them. Hope this helps!

    • Katie

      If you’re going to try the mason jar method, use a lid.

  5. Whit

    I’ve tried the ice water twice to revive sad strawberries and it didn’t work! I didn’t see a difference at all. Has anyone else tried it?

    • Marie

      I also tried it, but only saw minimal results on strawberries that were practically fresh to begin with. I felt like it took the strawberries from being a little squishy, to more firm. Which makes sense, because it was ice water after all. It did nothing for the deep red strawberries though.

  6. Debbie H.

    I’ve always used the vinegar wash method and make sure the berries are dry before storing in a paper-towel lined ventilated container. It has doubled their useful life.

  7. Linda

    Strawberries are only 99 cents at Aldi this week! This tips will come in handy! Thinking about making jam too!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      GREAT price! Thanks for sharing, Linda!

  8. alittleshelli

    I always put all of my fruit in a vinegar bath Kills all bacteria and my mom always told me it kills bug poop haha I used to put the smaller fruit in a strainer then put it in a large bowl but that wastes a lot of vinegar, but as long as you rinse them well they won’t taste nor smell like vinegar * make sure when your rinsing them you empty the bowl of vinegar or move it away from you because you will keep smelling it thinking they’re going to taste like the vinegar.

  9. devonmcdonnell

    Do you think this would work with all berries? I feel like raspberries are the worst for going bad fast.

    • Rischelle

      I’ve used this with all berries, however, the softer the berry (like with raspberries), the sooner they’ll start to soften in the vinegar bath, so I wouldn’t leave them in the bath for longer than a minute. You’ll have to do some trial and error with timing, depending on the berry. I always set a timer and leave my strawberries in the bath for 5 minutes, moving them around half way. Longer than that will turn them to mush too.

  10. LisaMarieRose

    Does anyone know if you can use apple cider vinegar, or does it have to be distilled vinegar?

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi there! We just looked into this and it seems either will work. Hope that helps!

  11. Julie

    You can also eat the strawberry tops. I save them in the freezer, and use them in smoothies. All of it is edible.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh cool! Thanks for the tip!

  12. Mj

    I’ve tried the vinegar and ice water – makes no difference whatsoever for me (bummer), and the berries did have a noticeable vinegar smell/taste afterward even tho we rinsed them well. I use paper towels – but only to keep water from puddling in the fridge under the berried container – haha 🙂 I will surely try the mason jar tho!!! Thanks for that tip! Also – soaking lettuce/salad in ice water make a huge crunchy difference unless too wilted (restaurant trick). One last trick – I use wet paper towels to wrap fresh herbs and put them in a cup with a little water in the fridge…have to change water and rewet paper towels, but keeps them alive for days and days! I was recently gifted a herb-keeper contraption (I eat LOTS of basil 🙂 ) from Williams Sonoma (plastic case with water in bottom) and that thing is seriously magical…never would’ve bought it for myself though it works sooo well!!!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for letting us know about your herb keeper! SO neat!

    • Darla

      I have done this for years with all of my produce and it never tastes or smells like vinegar. When I carry in my groceries I run a sink full of water – usually both sides of my kitchen sink because I have so much produce- then pour in about a cup of vinegar. Then I drop in all of my produce and let it sit while I put away the other groceries. I keep a bath towel just for this purpose. I lay it on my kitchen counter and place the rinsed produce on it to dry. Store it all in air tight containers in the fridge and it lasts about 2 weeks. The vinegar kills mold spores as well as stripping any wax coating. Drying it well slows decomposition and air tight containers stop it from drying out and wilting. You wont believe what comes off in the sinks 🙂

    • TrailTrekker

      I tried putting fresh cilantro in a mason jar with water in the fridge, and I have some going on a month and a half and it’s still good!

      • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

        Wow, that’s awesome! I’ll have to try this too! 💖

  13. jen

    I use the paper towel trick on bagged spinach. I layer the towels & leaves in a gallon ziploc bag & squeeze the air out so it’s somewhat vacuum packed. It usually needs 3-4 layers to accommodate the contents of a new bag. It lasts at least 3 weeks. If I have a head of lettuce, I wrap that in press n seal wrap. I’ll give the core a fresh cut & cut a strip of the wrap twice as long as the head of lettuce. Lay the cut end in the center of the wrap & stretch the wrap so the ends meet, pressing out the air as you seal. Lasts weeks as well.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your tips with us, Jen! I’ll have to try these!

  14. Ashley C

    So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong! Lol I do the vinegar wash but I never let them fully dry, so they went bad super fast. Now I know! I also put paper towels in my salad containers and that helps keep the leaves crisp 🙂 I’ve also washed black berries and blue berries in vinegar and haven’t had a problem!

  15. beverlymcgee

    A friend gave me strawberries she had put in a green bag. They lasted and lasted. We grow our own strawberries and have reused the bag multiple times!!

  16. Sue

    I use the Rubbermaid Freshworks Produce Saver. I don’t take the tops off or wash them (water only) until ready to eat. I live in a big agricultural area where I buy produce directly from the farms. We just finished strawberry season locally and have moved on to blackberries and blueberries.

  17. evelynlo96

    Strawberries have A LOT of pesticides. I use vinegar as well and it should help with that.

  18. Gina

    Swear by the vinegar wash!! I do it for strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, they stay fresh so long!

  19. Patty

    Paper towels work to extend a lot of things. If you can keep the moisture away it lasts longer. I use in a Tupperware of fresh washed herbs. Around romaine lettuce. In container of peeled boiled eggs. It helps a lot.

  20. H34th3rly

    I also did the glass jar method with my raspberries to make them last longer and it also works!

  21. Dee

    Wash, slice, throw into blender with tequila, lime juice, simple syrup and ice and blend. The strawberries won’t go bad because you won’t have any left. 🙂 When the berries start to go, my mom always let them sit with some sugar in a saucepan for a little while and then let them simmer to make a quick jam for toast.

  22. Alex

    Oh have recently learned to keep them in a large mason jar in the fridge- it keeps better even longer than the vinegar soak

  23. Lindaleelee7

    I found the Best way to keep Strawberries Fresh I Promise it works! When you bring strawberries home lay on paper towels (don’t rinse) to make sure they are all dried,put in mason jars and store in fridge,that’s it easy peasy.🫙 I promise it works please give it a try🍓🍓

  24. Melie

    I feel like tips like this one and the recent post about making your own foaming soap could be part of a series about how to save money by making the most of what you already have. Perhaps future posts could include repurposing leftovers into new meals, or what to do with veggies that are past their prime, or laundry tips to help clothes last longer. Just something to consider :).

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the feedback and suggestion! I’ll be sure to pass this along to the team! 🤗

  25. Janis Bouchard

    I usually wind up bringing the fruit tray for Christmas brubch at my sister’s house. I prep the berries (blue, black and rasp) the night before, separating the layers with paper towels in their original packaging. I either refrigerate them overnight or put them in the car with the presents the night before. That way I can just get up and go the next morning.

  26. Mollie

    Eat them at once

  27. Michelle

    Geez, I’m old and have never known any of these tricks!! Thank you so much!!!!!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re welcome, Michelle!

  28. Michelle C.

    I always wash all my fruit in the vinegar bath on grocery day. You should see how dirty grapes are if you think this is bad! I also leave them out to dry and then store with paper towels and they last until they’re gone, usually a week plus. I prefer to wash ahead of time to that making lunches is quick and easy.

  29. Becky

    cleaning them before storing will make them mold faster. I cut the stems of of mine and store them in a glass container. they Last twice as long that way

  30. Csandst1

    I clean my strawberries with 2 T of baking soda. Supposedly removes pesticides. I’ve used a paper towel in my leafy and berry produce for 20+ years.

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