Before you bite into a bowl of fresh berries, inevitably leading to an empty bowl and fruit juices dribbling down your chin, you must wash them thoroughly. A vinegar wash is an efficient method for cleaning dirt and killing bacteria commonly present on berries. You can make your own vinegar wash with vinegar from your pantry and wash all the berries as soon as you bring them home.
Vinegar helps prevent spoilage by killing bacteria present on the berries, helping to make them last longer in your refrigerator. The vinegar wash is most effective with distilled white vinegar mixed at a ratio of 1 cup of vinegar for every 3 cups of water. Use enough vinegar and water to completely cover the berries when placed in a bowl. A single pint of blueberries, for example, can be placed in a small bowl and might only require 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water to cover them, while several quarts of strawberries would need a large mixing bowl and as much as 1 quart of vinegar and 3 quarts of water.
The berries should be left in the diluted vinegar mixture for about 10 minutes to soak. After the soaking period, rub each berry well between your fingers to ensure all dirt and bacteria are washed away. Leave the berries whole while washing and cut them later, if desired.
Effects on Taste
Vinegar is often used to pickle fruits and vegetables, but the short soaking and washing period has no adverse effects on the berry taste. Each berry must be thoroughly rinsed after washing to remove all traces of the vinegar. After moving the berries from the vinegar solution to a colander, run cold water over the berries to rinse. Turn the berries frequently to ensure all sides are thoroughly rinsed. Leave the colander in the sink so excess water drains.
Vinegar wash is supposed to help berries last longer, but berries can spoil rapidly despite these efforts if they're stored in the refrigerator while wet. Before repackaging the berries and storing them in the refrigerator, line the counter with paper towels and kitchen towels. Spread the berries evenly over the towels and leave them to dry for an hour or two. If necessary, blot them with paper towels to remove additional surface moisture. If you don't want to devote the time and effort to thorough drying, you can wash small amounts of berries with vinegar as you need them. Unfortunately, when you don't wash them immediately, you don't reap the anti-spoilage benefits of the vinegar while the berries are stored in the refrigerator.
How Long Can You Freeze Fresh ...
How to Freeze Dewberries
How to Dry or Preserve Blueberries
How to Clean Fruits & Vegetables With ...
How to Marinate Strawberries
How to Dry Blueberries in a Dehydrator
How to Freeze Raspberries
How Long Can You Keep Apples From ...
How to Wash Blackberries
How to Wash Geox Kids' Shoes
How to Turn Plums Into Prunes
How to Keep Peeled Vegetables From ...
How to Pickle in Stone Crocks
How Long Is it Safe to Keep Frozen ...
How to Make Juice From Blueberries at ...
How to Blanch Cucumbers
How to Make Blackberry Brandy
How to Wash Medical Scrubs for the ...
How to Get Rid of Yellow Stains on ...
How to Grow a Kumquat Tree from a ...
- The Kitchn: Smart Tip: Keep Berries Fresh Longer With This Washing Method
- Cincinnati.com: Preventing Moldy Berries w/ Simple Vinegar Wash
- NPR: What Does It Take to Clean Fresh Food?
- Mother Earth News: Wash Berries with Vinegar, Use Plastic Six-Pack Rings as a Net for Vines, Remove Rust with Broken Bricks, and More Country Lore
- Ohio.com: Ask Lisa: Will Vinegar Wash Stop Berries from Molding?
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.
Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty Images