See also: Article on Berries; also individual berries
SELECTION - In general, berries should be dry, firm, well shaped, and eaten within a week after purchase. If you can’t eat them that soon, remember that berries freeze well! It’s best to buy berries that are ‘in-season’ as they’ll cost less and are more ripe and flavorful than ‘out-of-season’ berries.
Stay away from containers of berries with juice stains which may be a sign that the berries are crushed and possibly moldy; soft, watery fruit that means the berries are overripe; dehydrated, wrinkled fruit
STORAGE - After purchasing berries, check the fruit and toss out any moldy or deformed berries. Immediately eat the overripe berries within 24 hours. Return the other berries back to the original container or they should be arranged unwashed in a shallow pan lined with paper towels, and washed just prior to use. The berries may be topped with a paper towel to absorb any additional moisture. Plastic wrap the entire container. This will ensure the fruit retains its freshness, but generally berries should be eaten within one week.
FREEZING BERRIES - Because berries have a short shelf life, an alternative to enjoy them year round is to buy them fresh and freeze them yourself. The secret to successful freezing is to use unwashed and completely dry berries before placing them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to plastic bags or freezer containers. Frozen berries should last approximately ten months to one year.
PREPARATION OF BERRIES - When you’re ready to use the berries, go through the lot once more to sort out any undesirable fruit. Then, rinse, drain, and pat dry the fruit. Commercially frozen berries do not need to be ‘cleaned’ or thawed. If you froze your own berries, a quick rinse may be necessary.
CDC.gov - 5 a Day
- Add fresh or frozen berries to your smoothies for a refreshing treat.
- Make frozen fruit kabobs for kids using pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes, and berries.
- Combine raspberries with other fresh fruits for pretty salad presentations.
- Add fresh blueberries to fruit salads and compotes or use them as an ingredient in muffins and pancakes.
- Use fresh berries as a topping for ice cream, pancakes, and waffles.