Very few things are as disappointing as spending way too long in the grocery store picking out fresh, colorful fruit only to have it all go bad before you can eat it. They looked so good in the store! They smelled so perfect and tantalizing every time you opened the fridge. Alas, they weren’t on your meal plan for a few days, and now that it’s time, they’re too squishy (or moldy) to eat. There are roughly a million tips, tricks, and “hacks” geared toward keeping produce fresh and delicious for as long as possible, but most people swear it’s all about how you store them.
Could you be using better methods when buying your berries, though? One TikTok mama (and her husband) thinks so. According to the couple, there’s a quick and easy way to help ensure the berries you bring home will stay fresher longer — and all it takes is one simple move while you’re still at the store.
The trick? Flip the container upside down.
“Whenever my husband buys berries, they last so much longer and taste so much better than the ones that I buy,” says Meredith, who runs the TikTok @naptown_thrifts. “I finally found out his secret is that he flips them over and buys whichever ones don’t stick to the bottom of the carton.”
So simple. Yet so genius.
Here’s what we know: The berries at the bottom tend to get mushy first, and once one starts to go, it’s not long before they’re all icky. That mushiness often keeps the berries clinging to the bottom of the container. And if sticky berries at the bottom start to break down, that creates additional moisture — which leads to berry mold, aka having to toss the whole container.
So, checking to see if any are sticking makes sense. If there are no sticky berries, it’s a good sign none have gone bad and mushy yet. It’s such a little thing, but it can make a big difference. Bringing home berries that haven’t already started to degrade at the store will eke out a few more hours (maybe even days) in your fridge. Pair it with some solid berry-storing tips once you’re home, and you’re on your way to a week or more of fresh, juicy fruit in your house.
More Fruit-Buying Tips
Before you ever leave the store, make sure you’re buying fruit that is healthy and ripe (or almost ripe). Here’s what to look for to guarantee you get fruit that will hold up to your meal plan and last until your next grocery run.
- Avoid bruised or damaged produce. If that’s all they’ve got (which happens sometimes), opt for canned or frozen instead. Or make time to do a second trip later in the week.
- Squeeze ’em. As fruit ripens, it softens. (Hence the mushy berries.) If you plan to eat that fruit ASAP, pick the one that gives just slightly under your touch. If, however, you’re buying something you don’t plan to eat for several days, choose something hard that can ripen up while it waits for you to dig in.
- Buy seasonally (and locally) when possible. When buying fruit out of season, it’s coming from somewhere else, further away. As soon as the fruit is picked from the plant, it starts rotting. So, picking something fresh off the vine means it’ll last a lot longer than something coming to you off a cargo truck from the opposite side of the country.
- Fresh isn’t always best. Most fruits hold up well to being frozen and lose very little (if any) nutritional value. If the fruit you want is out of season or you know you won’t be using it immediately, consider frozen. It’s often cheaper, anyway.
- Treat it right. We’re so careful with our eggs, yet we haphazardly drop fruit into the basket. By dropping it, we’re bruising it, and by bruising it, we’re speeding up the rotting process.
- Grab from the back. You already know this: The oldest stuff is at the front of the shelf.
Once you get home, a few more prep steps can prolong the life of your fruit, too:
- Give your fruit a vinegar-and-cold-water bath. Not only does this wash off any pesticides, but the vinegar is a natural antifungal that curbs mold.
- Dry the berries thoroughly before putting them back in the fridge. “Pro tip! wash them and let them dry overnight covered with a hand towel, store in mason jars. Lasts twice as long in the fridge!” one commenter smartly suggested in OP’s video thread.
Squinting at the screen already? Worried you’ll look like a fruit-flipping weirdo at the store? Flipping your berry container upside down won’t look any sillier than when you knock on the melons.