Grapes come in all shapes, tastes and sizes. From unique varieties like Cotton Candy grapes to common table grapes such as Thompson seedless or Concord, grapes are a sweet, juicy and healthy treat. Grapes can help reduce your risk of certain illnesses and can even improve your cognitive health. Their sweet, juicy taste and crisp texture make them a delightful snack or addition to salads and other dishes. But if you plan on buying them, it’s essential to know how to store grapes, so they don’t spoil too quickly.
Start By Buying the Best Grapes
If you want grapes that stay fresh and firm long enough for you to enjoy them, making the best selection when you shop is essential. When buying grapes, it’s important to pay attention to the produce’s color, condition and “bloom.”
Look for clusters that have a deep, vibrant color. Green grapes should be yellow-green, red grapes should be predominantly red and black grapes should be dark and rich in color. They should be firm and plump, with tight attachment to the stems. The stems should be green and flexible instead of dry and brittle.
In addition, look for a naturally occurring white, powdery coating called the bloom. This is a good sign as it prevents the fruit from losing moisture and decaying.
Finally, be aware of the smell when selecting grapes. While ripened grapes typically have no odor, a strong or sour odor can indicate they have gone bad.
How to Store Grapes
Once you bring grapes home from the store, it is necessary to store them properly to keep them fresh and safe to eat.
According to experts, waiting to wash grapes until you are ready to eat them is the best way to keep them fresh longer. The bloom helps keep the fruit fresh. Washing grapes before storing them can cause the moisture on the fruit to mix with air, which leads to mold growth and ultimately decreases their shelf life.
For optimal longevity, store unwashed grapes in their original plastic bag. They should be stored in the refrigerator away from foods with strong odors until you’re ready to eat and wash them.
When you’re ready to clean your grapes, use cool, running water and rinse for about 30 seconds to a minute. If you’d like your grapes sparkly clean, baking soda or salt can be used to gently scrub the bloom off of them.
Because grapes are one of the Dirty Dozen — a list compiled each year by the Environmental Working Group highlighting produce that contains higher levels of pesticides — it’s essential to take extra care when cleaning them. This will help remove any pesticide residue, especially if they’re not organic.
Once the grapes have been washed, you can eat them immediately or store them later. To store grapes, place them in a well-ventilated container in your fridge’s crisper drawer for up to three weeks.
Cut grapes can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. A bit of drying and browning around the edges is normal, but the fruit will still be safe to eat.
Freezing grapes is another excellent way to extend the life of your fruit and enjoy them for months after they are in season. To freeze grapes, start by washing and drying them thoroughly. Then, spread the dry grapes on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for several hours. Once frozen, you can store them in sealable plastic bags or airtight containers.
When thawed, frozen grapes will have a softer texture than fresh ones. However, they make a great addition to smoothies or can be enjoyed as a snack without thawing.
By properly storing grapes you can enjoy their delicious taste for as long as possible.
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Check out Simplemost for additional stories.