2012-04-22 15.18.42

Photo Credit: Dena Fleno

The best part about Memorial Day weekend being over is that BERRY Season is just around the corner!

I wrote a post last year about the ways to pick a better berry– look for organic whenever possible, pick from local farmers, and/or grow your own!  I meant to follow-up with this post about how to wash your berries and get them to last twice as long, but a few crazy things happened and well, I forgot.

So, if your family is like mine, they LOVE berries!  They don’t always last too long in our house, but with them in season they are easier to find and get great deals on them in mass quantities.  The problem with buying your berries Buy One/Get One is that they tend to start to shrivel or rot by the time you get to use them or eat them.

Until NOW!

I am no scientist, and I don’t play one on TV, but I can assume that some of the main reasons your produces is rotting sooner than you can say Strawberry Shortcake is because of tiny little organisms and fungi lingering on the surface.  This combined with packaging and storing them tightly together can lead to major disappointment when you go to reach for a healthy snack.

So, say hello to one of my best friends, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).  If you follow along on the Cleaner Living posts, you know that I use this gem for more than just salad dressing- from personal care to cleaning, I love this stuff!  Apple Cider vinegar is a known to have anti- bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties, which makes it a great product to clean the things we eat (and eat on).

I did a little experiment with some organic strawberries I picked up at the market.  I washed some of my berries in just plain tap water and let the other sit in a concoction of 1 part ACV and 10 parts water for 1 minute then rinsed.  I layered both batches in a container with paper towels in between (this helps keep excess moisture from prematurely spoiling the berries as well, and also keep the berries from touching each other and bruising).  After a week I compared the results:

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Photo Credit: Dena Fleno

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Photo Credit: Dena Fleno

The water rinsed only you can see are a bit discolored and there is bruising and rot spots.  A couple are even starting to bleed into the paper towel.  The ACV batch looks just as good, if not a bit better than when I first got them!  Keep in mind, that if you get fresh berries from the farm, this method could make them last even longer than a week, because store bought produce si usually already a week old by the time they hit the shelves.

I use the above method for raspberries and blackberries as well.  But for blueberries I use a bit of a different technique.  Blueberries (and grapes) have a bit of a film on them that I can find slightly unappetizing.  You can’t really scrub it off without ruining the fruit.  But, remember back to elementary science class, when you made a volcano by combining baking soda with an acid (like ACV).  Foaming explosion!  If you sprinkle your fruits with about a teaspoon of baking soda then pour a tablespoon or 2 of ACV over it the reaction will gently scrub that film off and leave your berries nice and shiny.  Make sure you rinse them thoroughly with water (to get any excess BS off) and layer with paper towels, and they will last your for at least a week and be just as firm and plump as the day you bought them!

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Sprinkled with Baking Soda
Photo Credit: Dena Fleno

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After ACV and rinsing
Photo Credit: Dena Fleno

So what kind of ACV to get?  You can get any kind but the best one to get for the best results will be an organic, unfiltered version.  My favorite is Bragg’s, but I also use the one you can find at Trader Joes (shown in the pics above).

Hope this little tip helps keep your berry eaters happy throughout the season!

 

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