I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of buying a container of big, juicy strawberries only to have them go gross within a couple of days. All berries really. And grapes too, while we’re at it. So I hit up Pinterest hoping to find a magical spell that would keep fruit fresh–even if it got pushed to the back of the fridge and I forgot about it for a couple of days.
The Pinterest gods were on my side and I found a great trick from The Frugal Girls: vinegar. Now, don’t go running with your nose all scrunched up in the air. I know you don’t want your fruit to smell (or, worse yet, taste) like vinegar. I don’t either. So I was a little skeptical.
But when I opened my refrigerator and no less than half of a container of strawberries I had bought days before were mushy and gross, I threw caution to the wind.
The post said to soak strawberries in a mix of one part vinegar to ten parts water and let them dry completely before putting them in the fridge in an uncovered bowl.
Now, we all know that I’m not the best at following directions. Sometimes it turns out OK and other times (like my pathetic attempt at a mug cake or that time I tried to make one of those yarn balls), not so much. This time though, a little improvising worked out fine.
Aside from checking out The Frugal Girls post, I consulted a couple of other websites about vinegar washes. They all had pretty much the same information. The difference was in the water to vinegar ratio and the method of storing your fruit. I decided to be wild and crazy and wing it.
I filled my sink with water about half way and then threw in a cup of vinegar before dumping in a three pound container or strawberries (go big or go home, peeps). I let them sit for ten minutes or so, stirring it up with my hands once in a while to make sure every bit of strawberry benefited from the soak.
Next up was drying the berries. The vinegar is key for killing any ickies that might be on there (think mold spores). Some people even say it may help get rid of some pesticides. But vinegar is not the only key to this process. You also have to make sure everything is completely dry before you store them. Moisture is the enemy here!
I put the berries in a colander for a bit before laying them out on a towel. I made sure none of them were touching to help the drying process. When I was satisfied that they were dry, I put them into a Rubbermaid produce saver container (they have a little tray on the bottom that allows room for water to drip if there’s excess moisture) and laid a paper towel on top to soak up any that way. I’m not a big fan of leaving things open in the fridge, so I tested my luck.
Well, when I went to take pictures one week later my berries were just as good as they had been on day one. In fact, we ate the last of them on day eleven and they were still in perfect condition.
Needless to say, I’m a total convert and have now started soaking all of our fruits (as you can see from the picture up top). I only soaked those yesterday morning so I can’t tell you with absolute certainly that it works just as well, but I have no reason to believe it won’t work.
And, in case you’re wondering: the fruit doesn’t even have a hint of a vinegar taste or smell. I didn’t rinse my strawberries after the vinegar wash to be extra sure about it. I had a feeling from my green cleaning escapades that it wouldn’t be an issue (my house never smells like vinegar after it dries), but I tested it to be sure.
VERDICT: I could not be happier with the outcome. I plan on soaking pretty much any produce that comes into my home in this wash. It saves me money and ensures that I clean my sink regularly (for the record, I clean it with baking soda and vinegar—I’m a big fan of DIY green cleaning and I don’t want any chemicals in my wash!) 😉