This Genius Hack Will Make Your Mushy Strawberries Ripe Again

You have everything you need in your kitchen—and it only takes 20 minutes.

We’re all guilty of leaving the last handful of strawberries in the refrigerator a day or two past their prime. Instead of a juicy snack, these too-old berries are mushy and unappetizing. But what if there was a way to salvage them? This simple hack can help.

Why do strawberries get mushy?

The fruit become soft when it loses water. Once a strawberry is plucked from its stem, it continues to slowly emit volatile compounds and moisture, but it can no longer replace them through its stem. Then, as moisture and nutrient levels continue to decrease, cell walls soften and may even collapse.

If a strawberry has mold or is dark and concave, it’s past saving. Instead of having loose or squishy cell walls, the cells have started to totally break down and the strawberry may be starting to ferment. But when strawberries just look under the weather, getting water back into them will plump up the fruit again. You’ll have a fresh snack packed with healthy benefits for later.

How to fix mushy strawberries

You have everything you need in your kitchen for this hack. To bring some life back to your strawberries, collect a bowl big enough to hold all the berries with at least an inch of space between the top of the berries and the rim. Place the strawberries in the bowl, being careful not to squish them or mash them at all. Then, cover the strawberries with ice. Pour cool water over the top so the ice is floating and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Pour off the ice water. (Instead of wasting it, let the water warm to room temperature and use it to water houseplants). You’ll see strawberries that appear lighter in colour and restored to a plump shape.

This simple trick isn’t just a strawberry saviour. Even wilted lettuce can be revived after a quick dip in ice water! Most delicate fruit and vegetables will need a shorter soak time, so be sure to watch them closely.

Next, add these strawberry recipes to your to-do list for a flavour-filled summer.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest