One of the questions I am most commonly asked is: “How do we make berries last longer?”
There are some ways to get an extra day or so out of them (see below), but truly, berries just don’t last that long! I think that’s ok too, let’s normalize buying buckets of berries in season and eating them with abandon. To get the most from them try these tips:
Don't wash them until right before eating them
Store out of the plastic clamshells and in one layer on a linen or paper towel
Store in the front top of the fridge where they won’t accidentally freeze
Buy them very fresh from farmer’s markets
When you have berries that either became bruised in transit or have been sitting in the fridge too long, don’t let them go to waste. Let’s rescue those berries! If you’re a smoothie loving family the most simple thing to do is wash the berries, remove the hulls, and pop a half cup or so into a small jar or reusable ziplock bag and freeze them. Be sure to put a label on the container and don’t forget to follow through with smoothies soon.
If you have time to bake, bruised berries also are great baked into muffin, pies, cobblers, or in baked oatmeal. But don’t delay, get baking before they have time to actually rot or grow mold which happens quickly on the bruised areas.
One of my favorite methods though, is to make a quick jam with the imperfect fruit. You can mix any types of berries in any combination you prefer. The resulting jam is fresh and bright; it tastes amazing on toast with some butter, cream cheese, goat cheese, or my favorite, a big schmear of ricotta. Top with freshly cracked black pepper for a memorable flavor combo.
Recipe for Bruised Berry Quick Jam
1 pint mixed berries
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water
Squeeze of lemon/ zest
- Wash and hull strawberries; slice in half or quarters.
- NOTE: Save the tops for Strawberry Top Vinegar
- Place berries and sugar in a small pot and mash with a fork.
- Add cornstarch and cold water, stir until smooth.
- Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. The mixture will thicken quickly, keep stirring.
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and zest to taste. Mash berries to taste.
- It will thicken more as it cools. Keep refrigerated.
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