Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Washing Berries

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It’s berry season, and the markets are bursting with a variety to choose from. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are among the most popular of the mini fruits, and also the most delicate.

It is important to thoroughly wash berries, to remove debris. Running them under  water often damages them, as the stream provides too much force for something as fragile as a raspberry. The solution, is to soak, rather than rinse them, to get them clean. Strawberries, in particular, seem to make it to the dirty dozen list each year, due to their extremely high pesticide load. (Read more about the dirty dozen here.) Buying organic berries are recommended.

To properly clean fresh berries, place them in the basket of a salad spinner, and submerge them in cool, clean water to soak for several minutes. You can also add a couple of spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar to the first bath, to aid in the removal of debris. This may be too much acid for raspberries and blackberries, but for the sturdier varieties, the vinegar is fine. Use it sparingly, to make sure you don’t damage the fruit. Strain, and change the water a few times until the water remains clean. The vinegar is also helpful in fighting mold that develops quickly on soft fruit, like berries. Just be sure to get it all off before using them.

If you don’t have a salad spinner, a large bowl and a colander or strainer works as well.

Shake the strainer lightly, and allow the berries to dry before storing. (DON’T SPIN!!!)Place a folded paper towel in the bottom of the storage container to absorb any excess water and cushion the berries.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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