The strawberry season is very brief. Although they are available all year round, off-season berries are very expensive! They aren’t even all that good.Therefore, when the time comes, you must take every precaution to enjoy the fresh berries as long as you can.
We’ll examine strawberry storage in Mason jars today. Although most people are not familiar with this strategy, it is actually a very powerful one. All you have to do is tuck the berries sideways inside a clean Mason jar! If kept in ideal conditions, your berries will now readily last between two and three weeks (possibly longer).
The ideal way to store strawberries in Mason jars, the outcomes of our experiment, and the modifications we would make to the procedure are all covered in this informative article!
Why Do People Store Strawberries In A Mason Jar?
To be honest, we were perplexed when we first heard about this strawberry storage method. Who’s ever heard of something like this? Strawberry storage in a Mason jar? But when we tried it ourselves, we were pleasantly surprised by the results. Strawberries are traditionally stored in a plastic punnet that has some ventilation holes in it. The berries are usually stacked in two layers to avoid crushing each other. There is enough oxygen to keep the berries from overheating or drying out.
The disadvantage is that bacteria can easily come and go. This puts not only the strawberries at risk of quickly decomposing, but also other fresh produce. Nonetheless, this method is fairly fixed. And there’s a reason it’s used all over the world. However, this does not imply that no other storage method is viable.
So, is the mason jar method superior, and why do people use it? When we first looked into it, many people claimed that it made the berries last much longer. According to the theory, you create an almost uninhabitable environment for bacteria to grow as quickly.
Based on logic and food experience, the only thing we can see you doing is removing some oxygen. You still have bacteria in the jar from which you added the strawberries. So, how effective is this method?
Do Strawberries Last Longer In Mason Jars?
According to our tests, strawberries stored in a Mason jar stay fresher for a longer period of time. Given that there are countless factors that can make them spoil, we cannot guarantee that they will always last longer. Examples include how fresh they were when stored, the refrigerator’s temperature, the bacteria already present on the berries, and so forth.
However, our strawberries in Mason jars held up for 17 days! That is a little more than two weeks. And they had just begun to lose some of their color and texture when we used them. We did because they were still absolutely fine to eat! Although we cannot be certain, based on our past experience and how the berries appeared at that time, they would have been fine for an additional 3–4 days.
What Happened To The Strawberries Inside The Jar?
The berries at the bottom of the jar fared worse than those at the top. The weight of the top berries pressing down on them is unmistakable. They weren’t mushy, soggy, or crushed, but they were slightly more blemished than the top two-thirds. Their overall consistency remained fairly consistent, though some areas were slightly softer. Remember that as strawberries age, the bonds between their fibers weaken, causing them to soften. This does not imply that they are spoiling or rotting; this process is unrelated to bacteria.
It just so happens that as they soften, more juices are released. These juices (which also contain sugar) are what bacteria feed on, eventually causing the berries to spoil. The remaining berries were also slightly less vibrant than when we first stored them. We found no evidence of mold growth or rot. There was also no significant discoloration on the berry flesh.
Finally, the berry tops and leaves were noticeably drier. That makes perfect sense given that the jar contains no oxygen or moisture. Normally, the moisture in the fridge’s air will keep these fresh. Nonetheless, the leaves are not edible. It doesn’t matter if they dry out a little.
Why Did Our Berries Last This Long? Will All Strawberries Last Almost 3 Weeks?
There are numerous variables to take into account that may have ultimately contributed to the longevity of our berries. The berries should remain fresh for two to three weeks, on average. For this experiment, we stored the berries in a very specific manner, and some of these aspects make the berries last longer. So, let’s review what we did before examining the ideal Mason jar storage method for strawberries:
We kept the strawberry harvest in storage. Why is this crucial? The strawberries in the Mason jar had a shelf life of between 2-3 weeks, while the batch in the punnet also only lasted for about 9 days. This is probably because the strawberries in the Mason jar were much fresher than the average punnet of berries from the store.
Our refrigerator operates at a constant 37.5 °F ( °C). We have a commercial refrigerator that controls the temperature much more precisely and consistently.
We didn’t frequently open the fridge. The internal temperature of a refrigerator changes more as it is opened, which means that ingredients (and bacteria) are constantly being heated and cooled. This could still cause bacteria to grow more quickly. Not to mention that every time you open the refrigerator, new bacteria are introduced.
The strawberries’ green tops weren’t cut off. These tops actually keep the berries from drying out and extend their shelf life. As a result, you’ll notice that the berries without tips will go bad first.
How To Store Strawberries In Mason Jars
So, now that you know how long strawberries keep in a Mason jar, let’s look at the best way to store them. You’ve already seen what we did for our test. However, there are still some ways to improve the method. Our comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know and more!
Equipment And Ingredients
- Large pot with boiling water
- Mason jar
- Fresh strawberries
1. Sterilize The Mason Jar
First, start a rolling boil in a big pot of water. The Mason jar and lid should then be placed in the boiling water while being held with tongs. Keep the tongs’ bottoms submerged in the water as well; they can stay there for about a minute. Next, take the components out of the water and set them on a spotless surface, never touching them with your hands. Launder them at room temperature to dry. This procedure prevents the introduction of bacteria onto the strawberries from the jars.
2. Prepare The Strawberries
Use a food-safe, antibacterial hand wash to thoroughly clean your hands. Wipe the strawberries down with a clean paper towel. Do not remove or break off their tops.
3. Store The Strawberries
Fill the Mason jar halfway with strawberries. Do not cram them into the jar; they should all have enough room to move around. Place the strawberries in the fridge, preferably in the crisper drawer. This drawer will not freeze like the back of your fridge, and it will help keep the strawberries very cold. Place the Mason jar on its side rather than its bottom. This will reduce the weight of the bottom strawberries and allow them to remain blemish-free for a much longer period of time.
Keep the strawberries unwashed. Additionally, avoid using a wet towel to wipe them off. This introduces a lot of moisture for bacteria to feed on, which is the exact opposite of what you want!
Avoid using a large Mason jar. The strawberries at the bottom will be compressed more severely the larger it is. Even so, you want them to be nearly as fresh as the top berries.
Always pick berries that are as fresh as you can. Naturally, there shouldn’t be any indications of mold; instead, their skin should be a bright red color without any blemishes or rotting areas. If you purchase such strawberries in a punnet, store them separately or toss them.
Never place a paper towel or a piece of bubble wrap on top of the berries when storing them. These serve as bacterial spawning grounds.
For the best flavor and texture, use the berries within a week. They won’t be as good even though they can last longer.