What's the best way to transport strawberries?

I get mine from farmer’s market. They come in baskets like these. I put these baskets inside a plastic bag. Because I buy a bunch of other stuff as well, some usually end up bruised by pressure against the basket. Is there a better way to get them home intact?

My patented tomato transport method might work with strawberries. I open up a bunch of greens (spinach, kale, chard, whatever) and put the tomatoes inside. The greens function like a shock absorber. But an even easier method would be to just put the strawberries in their own bag.

Ideally, carry a real basket, or a bucket, and set the berry basket into that, safely away from your heavier, bulkier purchases. Failing that, I’d put the basket in a paper bag, or leave the plastic bag open to the air. In hot weather, berries sweat if they are in a plastic bag. If, when you get home, you refrigerate them in that bag, or any other airtight container, before that moisture evaporates, you are setting them up to mold. Let the basket sit on the counter - better yet, with a fan blowing on it - for a while. Transfer the berries to a plastic container and lay a paper towel over them before applying the lid, which should be left open a crack. Refrigerate. After a few hours, remove the towel and dry off any condensation on the underside of the lid before sealing it completely.

Is it possible to buy the heavier items first? Or pay for the berries and ask the farmer to hold them at the table until you’ve finished shopping?

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Fold up and bring with you a small paper bag, like those ones from starbucks or the small ones from whole foods, should hold two baskets. Keep the berries seperate in there , no plastic bag on them so they don’t sweat.

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Success! A combination of strawberries in paper bags without basket (I tend to bruise the strawberries against the plastic strips) and buying the strawberries last translates to only one bruised strawberry out of 3 baskets, versus more than a dozen previously.

Thank you all!

This leads me to another question- how do stored-bought strawberries/ other berriess keep so long? My farmer’s market ones barely last 2 days. Does it have anything to do with ripeness?


Yes, ripeness. But also, I think, temperature fluctuation. Your supermarket is air-conditioned so the berries are kept cool. Between picking, transport, and sitting out in summer heat at the FM, there may be a lot of condensation by the time you take them out of your home refrigerator. The steps described in my post upthread have allowed me to store supermarket berries, mold-free, for up to 2 weeks. There’s also a contingent that swears by rinsing berries in hot water, then refrigerating in a sealed glass jar. I have not tried that.

When I buy the big packages of strawberries at the grocery store I rinse them in very hot water, lay them out on a towel and dry each one. They go back into the clam shell layered between paper towels, the package left cracked open. What won’t fit back into the package goes on a plate topped with a paper towel. They keep for weeks.

Interestingly when I talked to the FM strawberry farmers they said to never wash the strawberries until just before eaten, because strawberries are like sponges, and the texture changes when soaked in water. And they said to refrigerate the strawberries either.

I grow strawberries leisurely, and I notice after harvesting them ripe and leaving them in the kitchen (without fridge), they last only 1 day if they are kept without temperature change and without washing. There are many organisms, insects attacking the berries, so I think the store ones are sprayed with insecticides or product to keep them intact. Also I guess there are harvested when they are still green to prevent bruising.

I eat them on the spot & transport them home in my stomach.


i get around on public transportation, so during our woefully short local strawberry season here in new england, i include some sturdy plastic containers in my shopping bags, then transfer the berries. a bit of a pain, but better than winding up with smashed berries.

when i get home, i transfer them into glass jars, which will keep them fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Different varieties will be more sturdy or more fragile. The big ones from California are varieties selected or bred to withstand shipping.

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I spoke too soon. The bottom layer of strawberries all got moldy 2 days after purchase. I think I need to either split the berries into two bags so the bottom layer get to breathe, or just get fewer berries.

if i bought three baskets of berries i would only have two left by the time i got home, one left by the next morning, and likely they would all be gone within 24-48hrs…

When you get home store the berries in a container single layer then paper towel then layer on top.

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Great to read there are other obsessives out there. Growing strawberries has been laborious. I can’t imagine how many insecticides are used in commercial settings. The farmer’s markets here used to have lots of varieties. The better ones were too fragile, I guess, so now I only see the type that’s available in the supermarket.

As far as transporting strawberries, I have in my trunk a rugged cardboard box. I purchase the strawberries first and pack them tightly in this box, then I go back for the other items. Same with tomatoes and other easily bruised items.

I think if you plan to eat over for days, buy the berries that are less ripe, it will be easier for transport and you can keep them longer. But without using fridge, I don’t think you can keep them for really long time.

Strawberries stop ripening after they are picked. The red may deepen, but the flavor doesn’t. Avoid berries with whitish “shoulders”; these show the berry to be underripe.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr