Using a Vinegar Wash to Prevent Fresh Fruit From Molding and Spoiling Review – Does it Work?

(Thanks to reader Emily for proposing this Green Idea!)

1 out of 5 leaves

1 out of 5 leaves

Fresh, beautifully ripe berries abound in the summer.  But berries do not last for long before they start to grow moldy and spoil.  Can rinsing your fresh berries in a vinegar and water solution prevent them from becoming moldy so fast?

The Good

  • Saves Money – fewer moldy berries, means less waste, and a better value for you, with no expensive fruit wash needed
  • Better for You – more berries in the house means more healthy snacking opportunities
  • Easy – a quick rinse is all it takes

The Bad

  • It doesn’t really work

My Experience

I love all the summer berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, and the list goes on.  I love to visit a farmers market and pick up local, fresh, and super sweet berries, fresh from the vines.  Sadly, it seems that these berries don’t last more than a few days before they start getting moldy and have to be tossed to the compost heap.

I was super excited when a reader and friend, Emily, told me that she had read you could extend the life of berries with a vinegar wash.  It makes some sense, that the vinegar would clean the berries of any mold spores, and they would last longer.  It was definitely worth a try to preserve my luscious summer berries.

The next time I picked up strawberries I tested out the wash on a few berries.  I made the wash of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water. I saturated the berries with the solution, let them sit for a few minutes, and rinsed the thoroughly with fresh water.  I placed the washed berries in a small bowl along with a second bowl of unwashed berries from the same carton.  I set them aside to see what would happen.

Can you tell which one I used the rinse on? Me neither.

Several days later when I checked in on them I was disappointed to see they had both begun to soften excessively, as strawberries do right before you toss them. It seemed the vinegar rinse did not slow the spoiling of the strawberries at all. So sad! I really do hate it when these ideas fail!

The moral of this story is that you have to eat up those summer berries super fast.  I recommend adding fresh whipped cream, or putting them into a tasty English Summer Pudding to help them disappear quickly.

What are your favorite ways to eat ripe summer berries?

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26 Responses to Using a Vinegar Wash to Prevent Fresh Fruit From Molding and Spoiling Review – Does it Work?

  1. Wow – thanks for sharing this. I have a while Pinterest board called, “Tried and Failed”. 🙂 Hopping over from The Better Mom. Blessings from Zagreb – A Little R & R (

  2. Brandi S says:

    Love your green reviews!

    As a microbiologist, I just wanted to stop by and say that, vinegar would not be strong enough to kill mold spores. Sometimes bleach isn’t enough! Spores are extremely resilient and made to withstand a lot. I was little grouchy about that pin going around.

    Again, love your blog!

    • Victoria says:

      Brandi! I love this comment. As a fellow scientist, I am grumping right along with you when things like this get passed around! Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  3. Crafty Mama says:

    Thanks for sharing!! I had wondered if this worked; now I know! 😀

  4. Monica says:

    I’m surprised this didn’t work! I tried it on quiet a different fruits and had great success! Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Vicki says:

    I tried this along with vacuum sealing the strawberries in mason jars and put in the fridge. They lasted and lasted! This method was great for the huge berries you buy like at Wal-Mart. However, the small fresh local berries tasted better at room temp rather than really cold.

  6. Debbie M says:

    I did not do the controlled study you did, but my berries lasted almost a week (that’s how long it took me to eat them) when normally they only last a couple-three days.

    The only difference I can see is that I didn’t rinse all the vinegar off–I just let the berries dry. The berries did not taste like vinegar, either. Also, I don’t know how you saturated them–if you sprayed them, that sounds much more efficient than what I did. I whooshed them around in a bowl with the vinegar rinse and then set them aside.

    I recommend trying again without rinsing the vinegar off. Because it would be so cool if it really worked.

    • Sandra Miller says:

      I, too, washed strawberries with a vinegar wash and then set them out to dry before refrigerating them. It prolonged their life in the frig. I think the key is to NOT wash them with clear water after putting them through the vinegar wash. Let the vinegar wash dry on the berries – the vinegar will not flavor the berries at all.

      • Barbara Hill says:

        I totally agree. I bought strawberries 2 weeks ago and they are still fairly fresh. I did not rinse the berries, and I used a 1 cup white vinegar to 3 cups water. I think the 1:10 ratio is too weak to do much good.

        • Barbara Hill says:

          also, I didn’t wait to rinse them. I did it right when I got home. I’ve tried it both ways- not get to them until the next day and it didn’t work, but if I got right to them when I got home I’ve had them last 2 weeks or more.

  7. Good to know… Thanks! 🙂

  8. Sanghamitra says:

    Fantastic idea.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  9. Gail says:

    Good to know! I just put out a pint of strawberries in my garden for the butterflies and birds. I’d heard that was okay if they were starting to get mushy. Thanks for sharing!

  10. joan says:

    Pancakes, over frozen yogurt, or just by themselves. 🙂 I was excited when I read the “The Good”. Then….. Oh well, we will just have to eat them fast. 🙂

  11. Nicole says:

    I tried that too. I had the same results – disappointed. Visiting from the craftblogstalker link up – have a great weekend!

  12. Edith says:

    I think vinegar might prevent them from getting moldy, not preventing ripeness, which seems to be what happened to your strawberries. Strawberries are on sale today an I plan to do my own controlled experiment.

  13. teresa says:

    i had good results. swooshed ripe berries in vinegar water, drained & gently patted dry, then refrigerated in the (washed) berry box with a damp paper towel on top of berries. gives me several extra days. once berries are ripe, i’ve found no way to keep them at room temperature..

  14. Following you on Face Book Stopping by to say Hi from the blog hop. Come visit sometime, tea is cold and no shoes are required. Kathy B.

  15. April Harris says:

    I always enjoy your reviews, even when the ideas don’t work out. Thank you for sharing. I do find that if I wait until just before using the berries to rinse them it sometimes helps them to keep better, but it doesn’t always work.

  16. Elsa says:

    Thanks for sharing this review!! 🙂

  17. Tami says:

    Love the idea that you tested this and wrote about it. One thing though: the original suggestion is from way back in a Cook’s Illustrated (2007 I think) and it calls for 1C vinegar to 3C water, so a much stronger solution. Cook’s is usually pretty good about testing their recommendations – maybe you could do another test w/those portions and give us an update?

    Things always get diluted on the web, including this trick apparently!

  18. lilly says:

    it dosent work but it ok lol

  19. Karen says:

    You don’t have to throw all the berries out. When they get to the point of just a tad bit too ripe, throw them in the freezer or blend them first and freeze. Now you can use them at a later date as a smoothie, topping for ice cream, add to yogurt, baking, etc. I do this with all kinds of fruit!

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