During your grocery store trip, you passed on the bargain priced pack of berries for $2.49, and bought “organic”, which cost at least twice as much. Smart choice, as berries, just like many other thin skinned fruit, retain more of the chemicals that were sprayed on them to help with growth and longer storage. However, you may notice that organic berries mold very quickly. Sometimes what is not consumed within a day has to be discarded, which is disappointing and costly.
Why is it that mold grows so quickly on organic berries? Organic berries are not sprayed with pesticides or have not been processed with chemicals to preserve food for a longer shelf life. These chemicals are not good for you, but they can kill mold. Therefore, conventional fruits and berries store better.
Molds are everywhere and are airborne. Mold can not create their own energy source. It can only grow on organic material, which can supply a source of carbohydrate to help with photosynthesis. Molds are saprophytes that grow on organic material. When the mold spores land, they germinate and then begin grow on favorable environments, favoring a moist environment. So, organic berries are a perfect environment for mold spores to cling onto and grow quickly!
What is the solution to this problem? When you get home from the store, examine your fruit for any moisture in the pack, discarding any berry that are crushed. Then, place your berries into a bowl.
- Add 6-8 parts clean cold water and 1 part vinegar. You can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
- Gently stir and allow your berries to soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Drain and rinse berries; line a cookie sheet with paper towels and allow your berries to dry.
- Once fully dry, put berries back in the containers and store in refrigerator.
This diluted vinegar solution will not impact the flavor, but creates an acidic environment that kills the mold spores. Keeping your berries dry prevents mold spores from spreading on the fruit. Enjoy your fruit and berries, and be healthy!