Saturday, January 10, 2015

Keeping Fruit Fresh - The Vinegar Soak Method - Win!

I love fruit, but I hate fruit. 
I love the freshness, but hate the not-so-freshness after a couple of days. Like fuzzy bits on my 3 day old blueberries, or mushy spots on my strawberries.


I found this idea a while ago, but never put it to practice. I've decided 2015 will be a me year. No more kids, time for me to get my health on track. And the Hubby is on board, I even have a contract :D So that means my fridge is stuffed full of fresh fruits and veggies.
Veggies aren't so much of a problem. We're big salad eaters and most of the vegetables we buy are hardy enough to last out the week or even more. Fruit, not so much. By the time I get to it it's gone bad. So here I am trying to salvage my berries. There are a few different versions of this vinegar soak, varying on amount of vinegar and time to soak. I won't post links, since I honestly looked at a few to get the general idea then just winged it.

Day One - Friday
Blueberries and Strawberries - Day One Date of Purchase
Purchased one container of strawberries and one of blueberries, all of which were in good condition when I got them home. No fuzzy or soft spots. I check my containers religiously before I buy them, because I HATE seeing fuzzy fruit in the store. Yuck. If you find any - pitch the fuzzy offenders in the garbage.
I proceeded to do a soak using 10 cups water and 1 cup white vinegar for 10 minutes. If you're doing a larger amount use more water/vinegar, but the 10:1 ratio seems to work. I left the berries on a paper towel for a good couple hours to make sure they were dry. Moisture is not your friend, so spread them out so the berries don't touch and they can dry completely. I did not rinse them after the vinegar soak.

Day Four - Monday

Day Four
So I'm totally a convert already. We only have a few berries left and they are still in perfect condition, as you can see. No fuzzy or soft spots, still taste great. No vinegar flavour after the soak, even without rinsing. I've even had to set aside a few berries that we are not allowed to eat to see how long we can go, but so far, this is a definite winner!

Day Seven - Thursday

Day Seven
Only on day seven the fruit started to look a little peaked. The strawberries (the two that remained) were looking a little dried out and there were two blueberries with fuzz on them. But both tasted fine and made it a whole week compared to just a couple days.

A note on the soaks. On day five of my Berry Soak Experiment I went out and bought another container of strawberries and blueberries and set them to soak in the vinegar solution. And since I'm a busy mom of two, I completely forgot about them. Oops! So instead of 10 minutes they sat in the soak for over and hour. However they seem to have had no ill effects and have no bad smell or taste.
And after a few days the 'extended soak', the berries seem to be fairing well. So length of soak does not seem to harm the berries, but learn from my mistakes and set a timer.

Final opinion?
Total winner. Especially in a time of year where berries are out of season, and therefore expensive and arrive at the store not-so-fresh, taking 10 minutes to soak your berries is a definite food and money saver. There is no vinegar flavour at all left over from the soak. This one extra step in you weekly food prep can be a huge saver!

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