Should You Be Washing Your Berries in Vinegar Water?

Find out why TikTok is buzzing over this prep step.

'Tis the season for fresh berries!

If you, too, have been looking forward to spring produce season, chances are high that you might also get a little overzealous and buy a box or two too many at the farmers' market or grocery store. As much as we try to work our way through them quickly enough, we don't always beat the deadline. Nobody wants to go in the fridge and see moldy berries!

Close-Up Of Hand Washing Strawberries
Getty Images / Bharat Sanghavi

Always on a mission to reduce our food waste, we keep our eyes and ears open for any sort of saving strategies. Of course we can freeze berries, but what if our recipe's texture depends on having them fresh—or we simply want to snack on the fruit as is?

Luckily, the internet is home to several strategies that try to extend the life of fresh berries so you can have a few more days to work your way through your happy haul. Rinse with baking soda-spiked water! Soak in salt water! Wash with vinegar?

That's right, one fresh berry trick in particular is really making waves on TikTok this spring: vinegar water.

Savvy chefs like Yumna Jawad of the blog Feel Good Foodie claim the same vinegar that you use for pickling or shaking up vinaigrettes might also come in clutch for fresh berries.

"It's not exactly that vinegar itself extends the life of berries. It's the fact that vinegar is so acidic that it kills or inhibits the growth of a lot of the bacteria and fungus, including mold, that may grow on berries, which makes the fruit last longer," explains Sean Brady Kenniff, EatingWell's senior digital food editor. (By the way, this same technique should work to clean just about any fruit, not just berries.)

To try this editor-approved strategy, combine 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water (for example, ¼ cup vinegar plus 1 cup water) in a pitcher or bowl, then soak the berries in the vinegar water for about 5 minutes. After that, rinse thoroughly with plain water.

"A good rinse should wash away any detectable vinegary flavor," Kenniff says. "Just make sure you dry them thoroughly—a trip in a salad spinner doesn't hurt—and when you transfer them to a container to store in the fridge, line the container with a cloth or paper towel to absorb any potential excess moisture. Moisture is the enemy of fresh berries."

From there, the fruit will be all set to show off in one or all of these 26 recipes to help you use up a pint of berries.

Up next: What Is the Best Way to Store Fresh Berries?

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