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How to Tell if Strawberries Are Bad (with photos!)

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Strawberries are one of spring and summer's most delicious fruits! They keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but it's important to know when you need to discard them if they start to rot.

Not all spots on strawberries mean they are unsafe to eat, so we'll show you the specific things you need to look for!

Old, rotten strawberries don't taste good and aren't safe to eat. Rotting strawberries have an

Fresh strawberries should be firm and have a soft floral smell. They shouldn't have any dark gouges, mold, squishy areas, or be leaking liquid.

Fresh strawberries usually keep for about one week in the refrigerator.

A plastic container of rotten strawberries.
A container with rotting strawberries.
Three rotten strawberries.
Strawberries with mold, crinkly leaves, and mushy spots.

Signs of Rot in Strawberries

Look for these signs to see if your strawberries have gone bad.

  1. Mold - older strawberries may develop white, dark brown, or black mold. The mold may be furry or look wet. It can be on the red part of the berry or the leaves.
  2. Soft Spots - rotten strawberries may have mushy spots. The mushy spots may be a slightly darker red or brown.
  3. Discolored Leaves - if the leaves at the top of the strawberry are turning yellow, are crinkly and brown, or have mold on them, they may be too old to eat. Yellowing or browning leaves are a sign the strawberries are past their prime.
  4. Smell - if the strawberries have a strong smell that's acrid or ammonia-like, they are past their prime and shouldn't be eaten. They won't taste good and they may make you sick.
A container of rotten strawberries.

The Best Way to Store Strawberries

Strawberries are best kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

You may want to place a piece of paper towel under unwashed strawberries. This will help wick away any moisture that can cause premature molding.

You can also give strawberries a vinegar wash before storing them. Soak strawberries in 3 or 4 parts water to 1 part white vinegar for 10 minutes. Drain them and allow them to air dry on a cloth or paper towel, and then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This may help extend the freshness of your strawberries for 3 to 7 days.

Strawberry FAQs

How long do strawberries keep in the fridge?

Strawberries usually keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.

Store them in an airtight glass container with a paper towel on the bottom for the best results.

If any strawberries start to look like they are spoiling, remove them immediately as they will rot the berries around them.

Can you cut the moldy spots off strawberries?

Because strawberries are a soft food, it's not safe to just cut off the mold and eat them.

In softer fruits and vegetables, mold has spread further than what is visible to the naked eye and it's not a good idea to consume anything with mold.

Do you need to store strawberries in the fridge?

If you are planning on eating your strawberries the day you bought them or picked them, it's safe to keep them at room temperature.

If you are keeping them for longer, it's best to store them in the refrigerator.

Cut strawberries should be refrigerated after two hours.

Are strawberries with a bad smell okay to eat?

Strawberries with an acrid or sour smell should not be eaten.

Strawberries have a subtle to strong scent depending on if they are in season. Summer strawberries will smell very floral and strong, but won't smell sour.

How long do cut strawberries last?

Cut strawberries can be saved in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days and can be frozen in a freezer-safe bag for up to 6 months.

Can you freeze strawberries?

Yes, strawberries freeze well. The texture will change, making them better for smoothies, ice cream, and baked goods after they've been frozen. They will keep for up to 6 months when stored in an airtight container.

More Guides on Produce

Here are several more guides on produce gone bad.


Tuesday 21st of May 2024

These Strawberries have dark spots all over them. They are not sunken where the discoloration is and they are not mushy.