Can you think of anything more tantalizing in the foodie world than rows and rows of different berries spread out before you at your farmer’s market? Their rich color and bite-sized goodness not only tempt you to reach for a handful, but their sweet flavor puts your taste buds on frenzy. I am definitely a goner! Having been dubbed the strawberry queen by my loving hubby, I can honestly say berries are a (healthy) weakness of mine.
- Have you ever bough berries (and I know, they aren’t cheap) only to bring them home and find they are missing that sweet flavor we all love?
- Have you gone to store them only to find they went bad on you?
- Have you wondered if you should soak them, spray them with a special fruit was, or if they are just fine and ready to eat?
- Should you wash and then store or not wash until you are ready to eat the berries?
- Does it really make a difference how you choose, wash, and store your berries?
And to make matters even more complicated, each type of berry is unique. So, in this blog post, I am going to cover the top 5 most common berries you will find at your grocery store or farmer’s market and how you can get the most out of your hard earned money when it comes to berries.
After all, I am here to inspire you to find a healthy and fit lifestyle you love without breaking the bank. How can you enjoy eating these amazing fruits if they lack flavor and are always going bad?
*Remember: berries are at the top of the “dirty dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that contain the highest amount of pesticide residues. So buy berries organic. If there is no way you can afford to go organic, go ahead and buy conventional. I would rather your family get the berries than forgoing them for a processed snack. I encourage you to read more about the dirty dozen and how to choose and clean your produce.
Strawberries are my favorite of all the berries. When choosing them, make sure you choose the ones that are brightly colored, plump, and the green leafs are looking fresh. Avoid those that have some white or green on the area that should be red, as well as those that are bruised or have wilted leafy caps on top. By being picky about your strawberries, you can get blessed with a bundle that will be the best looking, long lasting, and most flavorful.
Strawberries do best when you wash soon before eating. They typically will only last 1-2 days in the refrigerator until they start going downhill. In order to wash them, I typically bathe them in a 2:1 mixture of water to distilled white vinegar for no longer than 5 minutes and then rinse.
Following up strawberries as my favorite are raspberries. This little fruit has a deep red color and should be chosen based on being dry, firm, and plump. Avoid those that look soggy or shriveled. In the refrigerator, these tasty little fruits can last a good 3-4 days if you have not washed them yet. It is best to store them in a little container where you can put them in a single layer. Don’t add the lid!
In order to wash raspberries, I will typically spray them with my 2:1 water to distilled white vinegar mixture and rinse in water just prior to serving. If you would soak these like strawberries, they would get all mushy.
Try making this awesome BERRY SMOOTHIE with fresh raspberries!
Blackberries should be a deep purple/black and should be shiny and firm. Avoid blackberries that look mushy or bruised. Make sure to check the top of the blackberries because there are many times I find that to be the first place mold grows.
You can store blackberries in the refrigerator for a good week if you don’t wash them. They last longer and mold doesn’t grow as easily if you store them uncovered in a single layer. In the freezer, they can last a year. I haven’t tried longer than that. They are typically gone by then!
Wash just prior to eating blackberries using the same method that you would use for raspberries.
Love these plump little blue guys! Be sure to choose those that have a good rich color and are plump. Avoid mushy, moldy, or leaky blueberries. These little guys can keep in the refrigerator for at least a week if you store them in a single layer and covered. Just like blackberries, they can be kept in the freezer for up to a year.
Wash blueberries just prior to eating with the 2:1 water to distilled white vinegar mixture and rinse well.
Not many people deal with fresh cranberries on a regular basis. These are more famous for the canned or frozen varieties to be used in baking. However, I encourage you to use try your hand and using the fresh cranberries more for your baking. You will notice a very tasty difference! Choose shiny and firm cranberries. Skip those that have brown spots or are all shriveled.
Cranberries can last quite a while in the refrigerator (up to 2 months). Seal them in a container for maximum freshness. Wash with the 2:1 water to distilled white vinegar mixture and rinse well just prior to using in your baking.
Anything catch your eye as you went through the instructions for each berry? Are you currently doing anything different than what is listed that is working well for you? Leave a comment below…