The Carton Test To Find The Longest Lasting Berries At The Store

Nothing quite feels like such a fruitless effort than buying a carton of berries at the supermarket only to see them go moldy in the next day or two. Luckily, there's an easy way to predict if your produce will soon succumb to a funky fate that you can try out right when you're shopping. As one thrifty TikTok user explained to the world, flipping a plastic carton upside down and seeing if its contents stick to the bottom pad can make or break a berry purchase.

If the berries all cleanly obey the laws of gravity, then you're good to go. If, however, some of the fruit refuses to fall, chances are mold isn't too far behind. Berries glued to the white cushion on the bottom of the carton are a surefire indicator that there's just too much moisture inside of the container for the poor produce to handle, turning the plastic into an ideal breeding ground for spores.

Why stuck berries are bad berries

Berry packagers place that pad on the bottom of each carton as a way to absorb excess moisture and to prevent any mold from growing during transport and while sitting on display at the grocery store. However, this makeshift sponge can only suck up so much berry juice. If a shipment's cargo gets tousled during transport, some berries can rupture and turn into a messy mush. 


I just buy the ones that dont look moldy and gross but apparently, he has a whole system!! #sustainableshopping #sustainableliving #reducefoodwasteathome #shopsmartshopsustainable

♬ Lucky Girl – Carlina

Bruised berries haven't necessarily gone bad, it's just that once they start leaking their insides, the moisture pad at the bottom of the carton has a harder time absorbing all of the liquid inside. Stuck berries are a sign that the sponge has sucked up all it can, and the remaining moisture, whether from water or excess fruit juice, will quickly start attracting mold now that there's no barrier against it. Of course, there's always the chance that a few berries will burst on the ride home, too, which is why it always helps to swap out the supermarket's moisture pad with your own.

How to store berries at home for optimal freshness

You can prolong the life of your berries by soaking them in cold water and vinegar before rinsing them off. While you let your berries sit in their bath, wash and dry the carton they came in and remove the moisture pad. You can transfer the berries back to the package once you've lined it with a paper towel and thrown out any berries that may have been damaged in the meantime (if you've used the upside-down trick at the supermarket, there shouldn't be much, if any).

Of course, it still helps to use the berries as soon as possible. A helpful rule to remember when considering how quickly you can use them is that the softer the berry, the faster it will spoil. Blueberries are the toughest of all and can last about two weeks with the proper storage. On the other hand, strawberries will start to go after about five to seven days in the frdige, and raspberries and blackberries, the most delicate of the group, only have a lifespan of about two or three days, give or take. If you want to preserve your berries longer, you'll need to freeze them, at which point they'll still be perfect for smoothies or sweets.