Want to enjoy the juiciest sweet strawberries, find out when they’re in season where you live. They aren’t around long so learn a trick to make strawberries last, you don’t want to miss out on a single berry.
Every Spring, I anxiously await strawberry season. That means I can make strawberry chiffon pie, strawberry cake or just have some to put in a spinach salad. If you’re not lucky enough to be close to a strawberry farm, then it’s helpful to know when strawberries in your area are going to be ripe so you can get the freshest ones available.
Strawberry growing season
Strawberries can be found year round in the US with 80% of all strawberries coming from California. The growing season there is from February through October. So if you’re on the West coast you’ll get fresh strawberries almost year round. The second longest growing season is in Florida where it goes from November through April.
The rest of us have to rely on our local farmers market to get the sweetest berries. For most States in the South the growing season starts in April and goes through June.
For cooler climates, you won’t see local strawberries until June but they will last until the end of the summer. For more information on when they’ll be ripe in your State, check out this seasonal guide.
How to choose the ripest strawberries
Strawberries do not ripen after they’ve been picked so you want to choose strawberries that are bright red in color with fresh green tops. Pull up the leaves and make sure you don’t see any white, you want the red color to go all the way up to the stem.
Now that you have the sweetest berries around, how can you make them last. Left on the counter, they will only last two days. However, you can extend their shelf life with just a couple of tricks.
How to make strawberries last longer
Do you need them to last 1-2 days:
If you can eat them in a day or two, remove the berries from the container and throw out any rotten or moldy ones. To keep them from bruising each other, lay them flat or gently place them back in the container they came in.
Make them last for 1 week
If you think you can eat them in a week, remove the stem and place them in a paper towel lined container with a lid. Place them in the refrigerator and they should last about a week. Wash them right before eating.
How can you keep them fresh for 2 weeks
So if your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you bought more berries than you can possibly eat, all is not lost. You can extend their shelf life for about two weeks by taking these simple steps.
Step 1: Fill up a large bowl with 5 ½ cups of water and a ½ cup of white vinegar. Place the strawberries, stems and all, in the vinegar bath and let them soak for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Remove from the vinegar bath and rinse in a colander. Place them on a paper towel lined cookie sheet and allow them to dry for about 20 minutes.
Step 3: Line a resealable container with paper towels and add the dry strawberries. Refrigerate.
You might be wondering why vinegar. The vinegar kills the bacteria on the strawberries which is what causes them to go bad so quickly. The photo below are the same strawberries (minus a few I ate) after two whole weeks!
How to freeze strawberries
How do you remove the stem
You don’t need a fancy gadget to remove the stem from a strawberry, you can easily use a knife. However, if you’re going to removing a lot of stems and you want pretty strawberries a strawberry huller comes in handy. I use a very inexpensive simple one to pinch out the stems.
FAQs and tips
No, strawberries do not ripen after they’re picked, so make sure you have the ripest ones with no white on the top.
To slice the strawberries, first remove the stem with a huller or knife and turn it so the point is facing up, then just slice the strawberries into even slices.
Strawberries are sweetest at room temperature. However, if you need them to last for more than two days, you should store them in a paper towel lined container in the fridge.
Yes, you should wash strawberries before eating them because pesticides are used on most strawberry plants. Wait to wash them until right before eating.
Now that you know when to buy them and how to store them, you’re ready to make some fantastic desserts. Here are some of my favorite strawberry desserts.
Vinegar Wash for Strawberries
- Fresh Strawberries
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 5 ½ cups water
- Fill a large bowl with water and add ½ cup of vinegar. Add strawberries and let soak for 5 minutes.
- Place strawberries in a colander and rinse with fresh water. Place on a paper towel lined baking sheet until dry, about 20 minutes.
- Line a resealable container with paper towels. Place strawberries in the container and refrigerate.
- Strawberries will last about 2 weeks
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can substitute apple cider vinegar
- Make sure the strawberries are dry before placing them in the refrigerator.
- Do not remove the stems before putting them in the vinegar bath.