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How Long Do Strawberries Last and How To Keep Them Fresh?

Bought a couple of clamshells of strawberries, and not sure how long they are good for? How long do strawberries last, exactly?

Or maybe yours tend to go bad after two to three days, and you’re wondering if you’re doing everything right storage-wise. Or you want to know what’s the best method of storing them.

If that’s you, this article is what you’re looking for.

In it, we’re going to cover:

  • the shelf life of strawberries – how long they last depending on where you put them
  • choosing the best strawberries in the supermarket or grocery store
  • storing strawberries at home – how to go about it without spending a ton of time
  • telling if your strawberries are bad or not

Interested? Let’s jump right in.

Bunch of strawberries
Bunch of strawberries

How Long Do Strawberries Last?

Fresh Whole Strawberries1 – 2 days5 to 7 days
Fresh Cut Strawberries3 to 4 days
Please note the given periods are only estimates.

Strawberries last a day or two on the counter and between 5 and 7 days in the crisper drawer if you discard any spoiled ones once you get home. If that’s not enough, you can always freeze them. Cut strawberries keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

To get the full 5 to 7 days of storage time, make sure you choose the best strawberries when you buy them. That means ([UA]):

  • select ones with rich red color and bright green caps
  • avoid containers that contain any crushed or moldy strawberries – the decay spreads quickly, and chances are more berries will be affected
  • if you’re looking for the best flavor, go with medium-size strawberries and avoid ones with lots of white or pink
Strawberries in a bowl

Do you have to refrigerate strawberries? Yes, if you want your berries to retain quality for more than a day or maybe two days if you’re lucky. But if you know you’re going to use them the day you buy them, you can let them sit out.

Strawberries last up to 7 days under optimal conditions ([UOC]). If you don’t do at least a decent job when it comes to storing them (more on that later), yours will likely last 3 to 4 days.

Blended strawberries
Blended strawberries

How To Store Strawberries

Place unwashed and unhulled strawberries in the crisper drawer after you’ve discarded any soft, crushed, and moldy ones. Make sure the container allows for some airflow so that the strawberries can breathe. If you’re going to eat the strawberries the day you buy them, you can leave them on the counter instead.

That’s storing strawberries 101.

Before you put your strawberries in storage, you need to go through them and throw out any soft, overripe, bruised, crushed, or moldy ones. That’s because one bad strawberry can quickly spoil the whole bunch.

The same is true for other berries: raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries, in case you were wondering.

Resist the urge to wash your berries or remove the green caps once you get home. You should rinse and hull them as you go, right before serving them.

Strawberries in a plastic container
Strawberries in a plastic container, ready for storage

Next up, let’s talk about the storage place and conditions that berries like.

Strawberries like low temperatures, such as 32°F to 36°F (or 0°C to 2°C), and high relative humidity ([UOC]). That’s why placing them in the crisper drawer is the optimal choice.

Speaking of humidity, they need to breathe, and that’s why most clamshell containers and storage cartons for berries have holes in them.

If you’re using your own container, make sure it has some holes or at least leave it partially open. If you brought your strawberries home in a plastic bag, poke some holes or leave it half open to allow for some ventilation.

To allow for better airflow and avoid sunken spots and crushed strawberries, use a shallow container and go with two layers of berries tops.

If you’re looking for the best way to store strawberries, you can wash them in a vinegar solution, dry them, and then refrigerate. The whole procedure is described here. I won’t describe it in detail because I don’t think many of you are interested in spending like 15 to 20 minutes prepping strawberries for storage.

Once you cut up your berries and you have leftovers, place them in an airtight container in the fridge. And ensure they’re not soaking wet when you do that.

Strawberry whipped cream desserts
Strawberry whipped cream desserts

Can You Freeze Strawberries?

You’ve probably seen frozen strawberries in the freezer case in the supermarket, so you already know you can freeze strawberries. The questions are: how to do it and what are the downsides.

If you’ve ever used frozen strawberries, you know that they end up soft and a bit mushy after thawing. And that there’s a lot of liquid that you have to strain.

The same is true if you freeze strawberries yourself.

If you’re okay with all of the downsides and have a plan on using them after thawing (e.g., in a smoothie or as a filling in muffins), you’re good to go.

Strawberry on a table
Strawberry on a table

How To Freeze Strawberries

Freezing strawberries is a simple process that takes about 10 minutes of active time (depending on the number of strawberries you have) and some waiting. Grab a cookie sheet, some freezer bags, a couple of kitchen towels, and let’s do this.

Here’s how:

  1. Prep the strawberries. Hull the berries, then rinse them and let them dry on a kitchen towel. Or use paper towels if you don’t want your kitchen towels covered with strawberry stains. Pat the berries dry.
  2. Pre-freeze the berries. Grab a cookie sheet, line it with a silicone mat if you have one, and place the berries individually in a single layer. This way, they won’t form clumps when frozen. Chuck the tray into the freezer and leave it there until the fruits freeze solid (overnight does the trick).
  3. Transfer frozen strawberries into freezer bags. Feel free to put as many berries into one bag as you like. They won’t stick and freeze together, so you will be able to grab only a couple from a bag if need be. Squeeze excess air and seal the bags.
  4. Freeze the bags.

That’s it. Your strawberries can sit in the freezer for months and will be ready whenever you need them.

Strawberry whipped cream
Strawberry whipped cream

How To Tell If a Strawberry Is Bad?

Throw out a strawberry if:

  • you can see any signs of mold
  • it’s bruised, crushed, oozing water, or super soft
  • it smells funky
  • you store it in the fridge for more than like 10 days
  • anything else seems off

If your strawberry is simply a bit overripe, it’s up to you if you’re going to discard it or eat it right away. The same thing goes for any strawberries that were harvested underripe, meaning mostly white or pale pink ones.

Last but not least, if you’re not 100 percent sure that strawberry is safe to eat, discard it.