Raspberries are a delicious and popular fruit with many vitamins and health benefits. However, they also have a relatively short shelf life. Given that they also tend to be expensive, it makes sense that you would want to understand how to keep them fresh as long as possible. Here, I’ll tell you everything that you need to know about how long you can expect fresh raspberries to last and what you can do to help extend their shelf life.
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You can expect raspberries to last only about a day at room temperature. However, several methods allow you to increase their shelf life and ensure that they don’t go to waste before you can consume them. These methods include refrigeration, freezing, and dehydrating them. The shelf life of your raspberries will also be influenced by how fresh they were when you purchased them.
As mentioned, if you leave your raspberries out on the counter, they generally will only remain edible for a day. Therefore, this method is ideal only if you intend to consume them the same day you purchase them. If you don’t consume them immediately, you will notice that they quickly get mushy and soggy and turn inedible. They may even start to grow mold quickly.
The reason behind this quick spoilage is that raspberries are not a fruit that continues to ripen once picked, so farmers instead harvest them at the peak of their ripeness.
If you do store your raspberries at room temperature, make sure that you first discard any berries in the package that are already starting to go soft, and do not put them in an airtight container. The clamshell container that you usually find raspberries packed in at the store has the right amount of ventilation to provide proper airflow to the raspberries.
Storing Raspberries In The Refrigerator
If you’re not planning to consume your raspberries the same day you purchase them, you can lengthen their shelf life by placing them in the refrigerator instead. If stored properly in the fridge, your raspberries should stay fresh for up to three days, which gives you more time to enjoy your purchase.
It is important to note that if you store your raspberries in the refrigerator, you generally do not want to wash them first. Any moisture you leave on the berries will make them turn moldy more quickly. Instead, wait and wash the raspberries right before you plan to eat them.
Just as when you store them on the counter, you also want to first go through the package, remove any that are starting to grow soft or show signs of mold, and keep the raspberries in that plastic clamshell container.
As for where you should place them in the refrigerator, make sure you keep them towards the front and center. They’ll maintain an ideal temperature and be readily visible at this location, so you won’t forget to eat them.
Never store your raspberries in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. The crisper drawer has slightly more humid air than the rest of the fridge. Due to the moisture, it can cause your raspberries to spoil faster.
Also, try to get raspberries into the fridge as soon as possible after purchasing them. Even a few hours out on the countertop before refrigerating them will deteriorate their quality.
Vinegar Soak Raspberries To Further Extend Life
If you really want to make an effort to maximize the shelf life of your raspberries in the refrigerator, you can try soaking them in a vinegar solution before storing them. This process kills any germs on the berries, thus helping them to last longer. You’ll likely get several more days out of your raspberries if you use this method.
To perform this step, prepare a vinegar bath that consists of one-part vinegar and eight parts cool water. Gently swish the raspberries in the vinegar solution, and then rinse them off and thoroughly pat them dry before storing them back in the clamshell container and the refrigerator.
Although this method contradicts the suggestion that you should not wash your raspberries before placing them in the refrigerator, rinsing off the vinegar solution is necessary. Just make sure that you thoroughly dry them afterward.
If you went raspberry picking and ended up with a large haul or purchased more than you can consume in a few days, freezing your raspberries makes another good storage option and allows them to remain fresh and edible for up to six months.
However, one of the downfalls of this method is that your thawed berries will not retain a very firm texture, and raspberries that you freeze and defrost may not be the ideal texture for all recipes. However, if you intend to bake with these berries or use them in a smoothie, the texture will not matter, and they should work just fine.
To freeze raspberries for the best quality, complete the following steps:
- Wash and thoroughly dry the raspberries. You will not be able to wash the raspberries after defrosting because they will be too soft.
- Arrange the raspberries in a single layer on a baking sheet without any of them touching each other and freeze them for a few hours to help them better maintain their shape.
- Transfer the pre-frozen raspberries to a freezer bag and place them back into the freezer for long-term storage. Remove as much air as possible before sealing it.
- When you need to use the raspberries, take them out of the freezer, and they should defrost at room temperature within a few hours.
Dehydrating your raspberries is a method that will allow you to extend their shelf-life for up to a year. Although dehydrated raspberries won’t have their fresh juicy taste, they work well in cereals, trail mix, granola, or as a delicious snack.
Many methods exist to dehydrate raspberries properly. You can do it in the oven or a dehydrator if you own one.
For dehydrating raspberries in the oven, set the temperature to a low 150 F, wash and dry your raspberries before spreading them out so they are not touching, on parchment-lined baking trays and dry for at least 6 hours.
Depending on your dehydrator, most instructions suggest setting the temperature to 125-135 °F ( 51-57 °C) and dehydrating for 18-36 hours after the raspberries have been washed and dried. Check your dehydrator instructions for drying fruit. Again, make sure the raspberries aren’t touching.
The most important thing to remember is to ensure that the raspberries are thoroughly dried when you store them after completing the dehydrating process. Check the container periodically for signs of moisture. If any moisture gets into the container, it will cause the dehydrated berries to spoil. Therefore, toss the berries if the storage container shows any spoilage.
Properly dehydrated raspberries can last for up to one year.
Like other fruits, cleaning raspberries before eating them is essential to remove germs or dirt. However, due to the delicate nature of this berry, you need to take special care when washing raspberries to ensure you don’t ruin them.
The best method involves carefully placing raspberries in a colander and then rinsing them gently with cool (not warm or hot) water. After rinsing, place the raspberries on a clean paper towel and let them air dry. You can also gently pat them with a clean cloth to speed up the drying process. Just make sure not to squish the raspberries as you do this step.
What Can I Do With Soft Raspberries?
If your raspberries are starting to go soft but haven’t yet started to mold, you can still use them even if they are a bit past their prime. You can tell if the raspberries have started to mold if you see a visible grey fuzzy growth on them or if they have an odd smell.
Use soft berries in pies and smoothies or make them into a jelly or jam to spread on toast. You can also make a raspberry sauce for desserts or even make a raspberry vinaigrette dressing for your salad. This versatile fruit has many possibilities.
Tips For Picking The Freshest Raspberries
When you’re buying raspberries at the grocery store, you already know they have not been just picked. Likely, they have been sitting there for a short while. Therefore, choose organic raspberries whenever possible so that you know they don’t have any preservatives or pesticides and are likely fresher than conventionally grown ones.
Since the container of raspberries is clear, examine it from all sides and choose brightly colored, plump, and firm berries. Also, check around the container for signs of mold or discoloration on any of the raspberries. It’s okay if a package has just one or two bad berries, but make sure you remove them immediately when you get home before storing the rest of the batch.
Of course, the best way to get the freshest raspberries possible is to grow them yourself, pick them from a farm, or purchase them from a local farmer’s market.
If harvesting your own raspberries, only pick ones that have fully matured. Follow the same guidelines as selecting berries in the market. Look for ones that are brightly colored, plump, and firm to touch. If you gently tug on a raspberry, it should come off the bush easily into your fingers. If the raspberry retains its green crown after you’ve pulled it from the bush, it was not quite ripe enough.