How To Clean Strawberries: The Best Methods

With baking soda, with wine, with vinegar or with sanitizer? Here’s the answer!

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By Jane

how to clean strawberries

Understanding the correct method to clean strawberries is more important than what it may seem. It’s not only due to their delicate nature, lacking a protective peel, or for hygiene reasons (considering pesticides and potential worms they might harbor), but also to maintain their unique sweet, succulent, and slightly acidic flavor.

Furthermore, strawberries have a tendency to behave like sponges, readily absorbing excess water, which can dilute their delicate flavor: that’s why timing is really important when cleaning strawberries.

So, here are the secrets to washing them without mistakes. Remember to take them out of the fridge at least half an hour beforehand, if you are storing them in a refrigerator, so that all the aromas can unfold.

Thoroughly cleaning strawberries is crucial to remove pesticide residues, dirt, and potential contaminants. Washing and disinfecting this fruit thoroughly is very important as it is one of the fruits that records the highest pesticide use.

Ensuring proper hygiene safeguards against health risks and enhances the flavor and safety of this popular fruit.

Common mistakes to avoid when cleaning strawberries

Let’s first examine the most common mistakes to avoid in this task.

Removing the stem

The first thing to know about how to clean and wash strawberries the right way is not to remove their precious stem before starting the cleansing process. By doing this, you’ll prevent any substances used for cleaning from entering inside the fruit, altering its flavor.

Washing too early

Many make the mistake of hastily rinsing them under water and then leaving them waiting in the fridge for days. Strawberries tend to absorb liquids and bruise more easily after washing. One of the cardinal rules to keep them fresh is to wash them only when you’re about to eat them. Discard any spoiled strawberries first and only wash the nice, firm ones with a bright red color.

Soaking for too long

Some use vinegar—half a glass in a liter of water—some use a few drops of lemon, or even wine. Strawberries are delicate, and since you can’t scrub them, the solution is to immerse them for no more than 5 minutes in a container with water and baking soda. Then rinse them again under running water, but very carefully.

Regardless the methof, it’s important not to soak them for too long; otherwise, they would absorb not only water but also the bitter taste of baking soda.

The best way to clean strawberries: Water and Baking Soda

After having seen the mistakes to avoid, let’s see the right procedure to follow.

Let’s say straight away that our favorite method involves the use of baking soda. Baking soda does more than just help cakes rise. It’s a mild cleaner because it’s a type of salt that can gently scrub away dirt and residue. That’s why it’s often found in toothpaste and mouthwash.

When mixed with cold water, baking soda can help clean your fruits and veggies by removing pesticides and other stuff you don’t want.

Here’s how to clean strawberries easily:

  • Mix some baking soda with water, about a tablespoon per liter.
  • Put your strawberries in the water and let them soak for about 5 minutes.
  • After that, rinse them off one by one, removing the stems as you go. This helps keep any bad stuff on the outside from getting into the fruit.

To get rid of excess water, pat them dry with paper towels or use a salad spinner. Line the spinner with paper towels, put in the strawberries, and spin slowly for about 15 seconds. That’s it! Now your strawberries are clean and ready to eat.

How to clean strawberries
Soaking for too long: a common mistake

Other ways to clean strawberries

o you need some alternatives? Here are some follow-up methods.

Washing strawberries with wine

For those who need to clean and wash strawberries and want, at the same time, to impart an even more pronounced taste to the fruit, without altering its flavor, wine can be used.

Simply place the whole strawberries in a container and then cover them with wine (both white and red), letting them soak for about 5 minutes.

Washing strawberries with water and vinegar

The mixture of vinegar and water is also an excellent natural detergent for strawberries. Just immerse them in a container with these two ingredients (the ratio is half a glass of water and half of vinegar) for a maximum of 5 minutes and then rinse them under running water.

Washing strawberries with sanitizer

One of the most commonly used commercial products for cleaning and washing strawberries is sanitizer. In this case, it’s necessary to immerse the fruits in a solution with water and the recommended dose of sanitizer for a few minutes, then carefully clean each strawberry under running water.

This method is certainly the safest for eliminating bacteria and is therefore highly recommended for pregnant women.

How to store strawberries correctly

If you’re not going to eat your strawberries right away, store them in the fridge. It’s best to put them in a glass container and spread them out so they don’t overlap too much. To prevent mold, you can soak the strawberries in a solution of ten parts water to one part white or apple cider vinegar. Just let them soak for a few minutes, then drain and rinse them under running water. Dry them carefully and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them. The vinegar’s acidic pH helps stop bacteria from growing.

If you have lots of strawberries, maybe from a garden that’s doing well, you can freeze them too. Wash them, take off the stems, dry them, put them in a food bag, and then freeze them. You can use frozen strawberries to make smoothies, shakes, or even sorbet. You can also follow our grandmothers’ lead and make jam or syrupy strawberries. Back in the day, they used to preserve those summer flavors for the colder months this way.

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