It’s officially summer – which means the berries (blue, straw, rasp, black) are coming fast and furiously into my kitchen.
As does the “berry stress”.
You know what I mean – do I rinse them right away, or as needed? Do I leave them in the original package or transfer? Store them covered or open?
And I’ve tried it all, you guys – only to (way too often) wind up with the inevitable moldy few that have to be tossed.
But no longer.
Here are my tried-and-true fave berry “hacks” to get you through the summer – and beyond – with those precious berries fresh, unmoldy and ready for all of your recipes!
First up? How to clean and store.
Within a day of getting your berries home, give them a dunk in a vinegar-water bath. This will remove any and all traces (visible or not) of mold and bacteria, and extend the shelf-life of your berries considerably.
Simply place the berries in a bowl filled with 1:3 parts white vinegar and water (I usually do 2 cups:6 cups). Rinse well under cold water and place the berries in your salad spinner, which has been lined with paper towels to create a cushion. Spin for about 30 seconds and transfer the berries to a paper towel-lined baking sheet till completely dry.
Store the berries in individual containers that are lined with paper towels. Loosely cover and keep refrigerated. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much longer your fruit stays fresh!
This next tip is a good one.
Don’t you hate when you fold berries into muffins, cakes and quick breads, only to have them sink to the bottom of the batter while baking? Here’s what you do to avoid this nuisance:
Remove one tablespoon of the flour called for in your recipe, and toss it with the berries prior to folding them into the batter. This flour “coating” absorbs the juices as they’re released from the berries, and keeps them from sinking.
But what to do if you still find yourself with some berries that are about to “turn”?
Most recipes can be made just as easily with frozen berries as they can with fresh. And you don’t even have to thaw them prior to using!
Simply lay the berries on a baking sheet in a single layer (I like to chop the strawberries into smaller pieces prior to freezing). Freeze and transfer to ziploc bags, with the amounts and dates labeled on the outside.
Frozen berries are also handy for shakes, parfaits and smoothies too!
What are some of your favorite “berry” tips?
Need some inspiration? Click away!
Raspberry Swirl Mini Cheesecakes
Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream Sandwiches
Crisp Wontons with Strawberries and Ice Cream
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
Strawberry Apple Fruit Leather
Mixed Berry Compote
Berries and Cream Tart