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How to Clean Strawberries with Vinegar

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I love using vinegar to clean strawberries - it's the best way to kill off mold spores and preserve them a bit longer.

If you are concerned the strawberries will taste like vinegar, do not worry - the vinegar solution is diluted enough in the water that it doesn't leave behind any sour flavor. For every four cups of water, you'll use just one cup vinegar.

This method of vinegar washing will work with all kinds of fresh fruit - it's perfect for cleaning delicate berries like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Cleaned fresh strawberries in a white bowl.
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What You'll Need

Here are the items you'll need to clean your strawberries.

A bowl with water and a strainer, a bottle of white vinegar, and a plastic container of fresh strawberries.
  1. Fresh Strawberries
  2. Large Bowl
  3. Enough Water to Cover Berries
  4. White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
  5. Fine Mesh Strainer (optional, not required)
  6. Paper Towel or Kitchen Towel

How to Clean Strawberries

Follow these easy steps to clean your unwashed berries.

The ratio is 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, so fill your bowl with enough water to cover the strawberries when they are in the strainer (in my case this was 6 cups of cool water) and then pour in vinegar (I used 2 cups of vinegar).

Vinegar being poured into a bowl of water with a strainer.

Place unwashed strawberries in the strainer in a single layer, so they are submerged in water. They may float slightly - this is okay, you can flip them a few times while they soak.

Allow the strawberries to soak in the vinegar water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Strawberries in a strainer and bowl soaking in water and vinegar.

Remove the strainer from the water and dispose of the mixture of vinegar and water. Run the strawberries under some cold tap water to rinse off any excess vinegar and then place them on a towel to dry.

If you have a salad spinner, you can use it to dry excess water off the fresh berries as well!

Once the strawberries have dried, store them in the refrigerator or enjoy them immediately.

Strawberries drying on a kitchen towel.

The Best Way to Store Strawberries

Whole strawberries can be stored in a colander in the refrigerator. Line the colander with a piece of clean paper towel.

They can also be stored in an airtight container or glass jar. I recommend making sure they are completely dry before placing them in an airtight container.

Cut strawberries should always be stored in an airtight, lidded container.

Fresh strawberries in a white bowl.

Strawberry FAQs

Is it better to clean strawberries with vinegar or baking soda?

You can use baking soda or vinegar to clean your strawberries, but they should not be used together. Mixing vinegar and baking soda creates a chemical reaction that makes them both ineffective at cleaning your berries.

If you want to use both, clean your berries by soaking them in several cups of water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda for 5 minutes, rinse the berries under clean water, then soak them in the vinegar wash.

Do you need to wash store-bought strawberries before eating them?

Yes, no matter where they're from, you should wash strawberries before eating them.

Grocery store strawberries have likely been exposed to pesticides and fertilizers, packed for storage and sale, and have been handled in the store. It's worth it to spend a few minutes cleaning your berries to make sure there is no pesticide residue, dirt, tiny bugs, or mold spores.

Do you need to wash organic strawberries before eating them?

Yes, all strawberries, whether or not they're organic or from the farmers market, should be washed before eating. Even organic berries have been fertilized, handled, and packed for shipping and sale.

Does vinegar-soaking strawberries stop them from molding?

Yes, because vinegar is an acid it prevents the growth of bacteria and fungus, that includes mold spores. Washing your berries in a vinegar bath will keep them fresher longer - I find they last up to 5 to 7 days longer in the fridge!

How to Clean Strawberries with Vinegar

Cleaned strawberries in a white bowl.

Here's how to easily clean your strawberries in a vinegar bath to keep them fresher for longer!

Prep Time 2 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes

Materials

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Cool Water
  • White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar

Tools

  • Large Bowl
  • Strainer
  • Kitchen Towel or Paper Towel

Instructions

  1. Use 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar to fill a large bowl. Place the strainer in the bowl and add the strawberries.
  2. Soak the strawberries in the vinegar bath for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the strainer from the bowl and run the strawberries under tap water.
  4. Discard the vinegar water.
  5. Place the strawberries on a towel or paper towel to dry.
  6. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

More Great Produce Guides

Kurt

Sunday 23rd of June 2024

Will the vinegar and or the baking soda wash of the pesticides and fertilizers??

EW

Monday 24th of June 2024

It can't completely remove pesticides from fruit (some may remain in the peel or flesh), but baking soda and vinegar have both been shown to be effective at removing pesticides. And they are definitely better than just a rinse with water!

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