The Best Way To Store Fresh Berries Requires No Fancy Equipment

Whether you like the sweet juiciness of strawberries, the tangy punch of raspberries, or the deep blue hue of blueberries, one thing is for sure: fresh berries are a delight. So we hate to pick up packages of them at the market only to see half of it go to waste. Unfortunately, this is common in many households. Non-profit organization ReFED revealed in a 2021 report that about 35% of the food supply produced in the United States in 2019 was wasted because it was unsold or uneaten. Improper food storage contributes to this problem, making food go bad before it should have. 

Reality check: Berries have a shorter shelf life than other fruits, as they're prone to spoilage by microorganisms like bacteria. We all have seen our berries lose color, shape, and texture sooner than we thought. But, not anymore! You can keep enjoying the goodness of fresh berries by storing them correctly. No, you don't need any fancy equipment for it, just a regular paper towel that you would probably already have in your kitchen.

How to use paper towel to store fresh berries

If you plan to enjoy your berries right away, leave them at room temperature. Or else, wash them nicely to remove dirt, discard the squished and rotten parts, and spread them out on a tray lined with a paper towel, making sure that the paper towel has absorbed any dripping water or excess moisture. The next step is storage — again with the help of paper towels. All you need to do is line a clean and dry bowl with paper towels, covering the bottom as well as the sides. Place your washed and dried berries on top of the paper and cover it with another layer of paper towel.

Storing berries with the help of a paper towel is the most convenient method. It's simple, accessible, and budget-friendly! Paper towels hold the berries together, preventing them from moving around, rubbing against each other, and getting squished. Plus, paper towels help absorb excess moisture, which can lead to mold growth. This will help the berries stay fresh for up to a week,  according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Tips to keep in mind

The first step to keeping your berries fresh is ensuring you purchase fresh berries. Look out for the brightness in color and take a whiff to check for a rotten smell. Follow your instincts! Another trick to find fresh berries is by flipping the package at the store. If you find berries sticking to the pad on the carton, it means the pad has absorbed too much moisture from squished berries inside. It's better to go for another package. 

If you find that your stored berries have lost some of their luster but haven't gone bad yet. Don't worry, you can still revive some of their color and shape! Place the dull berries in a bowl full of ice water and soak them for a few minutes. Then drain the water and pat them dry with a paper towel. This trick will help bring the berries back to life.

Finally, don't forget to get creative when it comes to using up berries that are about to go bad; there are plenty of recipes that don't rely on a perfectly firm fruit. Berries that are about to turn are perfect in recipes like strawberry overnight oats or baked into chocolate raspberry cookies or lemon blueberry scones. Enjoy a very berry meal!