How to keep berries fresh and mold-free

ONEEvery time summer rolls around, there’s no shortage of things to look forward to—with warmer days, summer Fridays, and peak berry season among them. Whether you buy blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries at your local farmers market or grocery store, there’s a secret you’ll want to follow before every purchase to make sure you Get the freshest berries for your money.

Keep reading to see what the perfect trick is. Plus: everything a food safety expert suggests for storing, preparing, and ultimately enjoying your berries to the fullest.

Why you should always flip the box before buying to keep the berries fresh

While this berry buying trick is simple, it’s important to put into practice. A glance at the bottom of the berry container can help you spot mold and moisture, thus saving you the pain of discovering a slimy container of produce that you’ll have to throw away after a day or two.

According to Tamika Sims, PhD, food scientist and senior director of food technology communications at the International Food Information Council (IFIC), mold can grow on cracked fruit and reveal meat. Since berries have a smaller surface area, such as apples, any mold “has the potential to affect the whole berry and should be removed,” she explains. “Mold can also move from berry to berry if they touch a small container, like the ones you find at the market.”

Ideally, you’ll spot the growth before you make a purchase and choose a different container altogether. But if it’s too late and you’re wondering whether to go ahead and eat mold-free berries, Dr. Sims has some important information to share.

Of course, you’ll need to throw away the moldy berries. From there, inspect the berries that touch them for signs of spoilage. Dr Sims advises: “If you see mold, feel soft or discolored skin, these berries should also be discarded. “If there is no obvious sign of mold moving to nearby berries, you can wash them thoroughly and set aside to eat.”

However, if you’re wondering if some berries are salvageable, Dr. Sims recommends err on the side of caution. (Reducing food waste is a worthy goal, but you shouldn’t do it to your health.) “According to the USDA, mold can cause allergic reactions, health problems, and other health problems. breathing and sometimes even more serious reactions,” she shared. But if you’re just mid-chewing and realize that a spoiled berry is in fact in your mouth, you shouldn’t stress too much about it. “If you’ve accidentally eaten moldy berries, you may not feel any difference,” says Dr. Sims. “A moldy blueberry may not make you sick, but some can lead to foodborne illness symptoms.”

3 more tips to keep your berries fresh and mold-free

Now that you know how important it is to turn the container of berries before you buy—and what to do if mold is detected—follow these extra tips and tricks to keep your berries fresher longer .

1. Keep the berries in a well-ventilated container

Most berry containers are open or have cutouts that allow air to circulate, which Dr. Sims says is ideal. If you have your favorite food preservers on hand, it’s best to save them for another use. “If you need to remove [original berry] she advises.

2. Chill them to the right temperature

Dr. Sims continued: “Berries are very perishable, so they need to be stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or less. “Use a refrigerator thermometer to monitor your refrigerator temperature to ensure this.” Furthermore, your refrigerator may have a specific compartment or compartment to store products, which can help increase their freshness and shelf life.

3. Wash berries only before eating

Dr. Sims says you should always wash the berries directly before you’re ready to eat them, rather than washing them first. “You can certainly check the container for damage or mold and use the advice above if mold is present. But if not, don’t wash it all and put it back in the fridge,” she shared.

By following the tips above, you can prevent early mold and better ensure that you’ll enjoy your berries until the last bite. Additionally, Dr. Sims recommends consulting the FoodKeeper App to help you maximize the quality of specific foods—including but certainly not limited to specific berries and produce. other products—whether fresh or frozen.


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