There is very little else that compares to the anxiety that sets in when you realize that your strawberries, which looked great just yesterday, have already started to wilt and become soggy.
Mushy strawberries may be safe to eat, but they are not in their best form, which makes discarding them sometimes appealing. This brings us to the science of why strawberries become mushy.
Strawberries are made up of high water content, and it contributes to their firmness and shape. Simply put, a strawberry will start to wilt and get mushy when it starts to lose water.
Once you pluck a strawberry from its stem, it continues to emit volatile compounds and moisture slowly. Since it can no longer replenish them through its stem, its moisture and nutrient levels continue to decrease, cell walls soften and may even collapse.
But rejuvenating such a strawberry takes a mere 20 minutes, a few simple steps, and all you need is already right in your kitchen!
- Gently pour the mushy strawberries in a bowl while making sure to leave an inch of space between the top of the berries and the rim.
- Cover the strawberries with ice.
- Pour cold water over the top, so the ice is floating and let the fruits soak for 20 minutes.
- Then, pour out the ice water.
This trick will restore the strawberries' appealing plumpness so you can eat them straight out of a bowl. Cool right!?
Remember: this trick won't work if the strawberries are already moldy (i.e., the cell walls have started to break down) and rot has fully set in. Once you begin to spot molds or other evidence of microbial growth on your strawberries, discard them!