how to clean strawberries

The tastiest treat of the spring is also one of the dirtiest.

Yes, strawberries are considered to be one of the most polluted fruits there are thanks to the massive use of pesticide when they’re grown. 

That doesn’t mean that we want you to give up eating strawberries, perish the thought.

In fact, they’re super good for you as they’re packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants too. 


Why Do You Need To Clean Strawberries?

Strawberries tend to top the annual report from the USDA’s agricultural marketing service for the plants with the most pesticides used on them. 

And washing removes up to 80% of these pesticides! That makes them much safer to eat.

dirty strawberries

And if you’re thinking you’re just going to buy organic and skip the washing process – there’s a reason they use all those pesticides. 

Organic strawberries are often full of bugs that need washing away! 

That’s something that most vegan blogs seem to skip over, probably to stop you from developing a fear of strawberries. 


Should You Wash Them With Liquid Soap? 

No, you shouldn’t wash strawberries or, indeed, any other fruit or vegetables in detergents. 

While you might get rid of the pesticides or bugs, what you will gain is a soapy taste and a residue that might be as harmful as the pesticide they remove. 

The FDA says “don’t eat detergent” and we tend to agree with them. So, no, no soap, please. 


When Do You Wash Strawberries? 

You should only wash strawberries immediately before you eat them. 

washing strawberries

If you wash them earlier, the damp places on the strawberry is a welcoming place for mold to grow and grow it will. 

So, try to hang on for the last second before you eat them to wash them. 


How To Clean Strawberries Safely

Get a large colander and pop the strawberries into them. 

Then place the colander under a running cold water tap and thoroughly rinse your strawberries for 20-30 seconds. 

Then pat them dry with a towel and then use them in whatever recipe you were going to use them for or just eat them as they are!

If you’re eating store bought, non-organic, strawberries this is more than enough to ensure that your strawberries are ready to eat. 


Can They Be Washed In Vinegar Or Apple Cider Vinegar? 

If you’re not convinced that cold washing is going to help you get rid of enough pesticide then you can give the strawberries a bath in vinegar prior to rinsing them. 

Add 1 cup of white wine vinegar to 8 cups of water in a large container.

Soak the strawberries in the vinegar-water mix for about 5-10 minutes.

washing strawberries in vinegar

When you’re ready, transfer them to the colander and get rinsing for 20-30 seconds with cold water. 

Make sure to rinse them super thoroughly strawberries with vinegar is not a famous culinary recipe for good reason. 

You can substitute the white wine vinegar for apple cider vinegar if you want to and there are some suggestions that this may even keep the strawberries fresher for longer.

However, given that you only wash strawberries as you’re going to eat them, this seems like a very minor benefit at best. 


How To Wash Strawberries In Salt

Yes, salt!

If you bought those lovely organic strawberries then you’re not worried about pesticides, you should be more worried about the pests themselves.

Yes, bugs live in strawberries that’s why growers use so much pesticide. 

So, make up a 10% solution of salt water (that’s 1 part salt to ten parts water) and add one part white wine vinegar too. 

Then soak your strawberries in it for about 10 minutes.

About half way through you should start to see small worms pouring out of your strawberries!

These are the maggots of the fruit fly that lays its eggs on the strawberries. 

So, if you don’t want wormy strawberries, give organic strawberries a salt bath before you chow down. 


Final Thoughts On How To Clean Strawberries

Is not hard to clean strawberries and there are good reasons to do so.

After all, nobody wants to eat pesticides or bugs do they? 

Fortunately, once they’re washed, strawberries are among the tastiest of summer treats! Yum!

If you want some ideas on how to use your strawberries check out our best vegan cookbooks or the awesome guide to vegan eating How Not To Die

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