How to Tell if Raspberries Are Bad? [& What To Do]

What’s better than having a carton of fresh raspberries in the house? No matter the season, having fresh berries on hand allows you to add vibrancy to your daily diet. The only problem is that raspberries are notorious for spoiling quickly, sometimes even the day after you bought them!

Is it really worth it to buy raspberries if they’re just going to go bad before anyone eats them? Luckily, the answer to that question is an emphatic yes! The key to preserving fresh raspberries in your home is understanding why raspberries start to spoil.

In the fridge, raspberries stay intact for about a week, whereas they last only a day if left unrefrigerated. Freezing raspberries is an attractive alternative, as it is the freshest way to store berries for up to a year. You can either freeze your own fresh berries or buy pre-frozen berries from the store. The main enemy to preserving your berries is moisture because it expedites mold growth. When raspberries become mushy, discolored, and develop a pungent smell, either freeze them immediately. If mold starts to appear, it’s best to throw the berries away, as ingesting mold can cause serious illness.

 In this article, we’ll discuss the process under which raspberries deteriorate and the best storage methods to keep them fresh. Continue reading to find out how to make the best of your raspberries at each stage.

How Do You Know When Raspberries are Bad?

Fresh raspberries are bright red and do not have patches of discoloration. They’re also firm and keep their shape.

When raspberries start to go bad, they lose their bright red coloration and become spongy. As the berries continue to spoil, they will develop an odor and, eventually, become moldy.  

Mold on Raspberries

Mold on raspberries can look like white fuzz to greyish, black spots, caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Raspberries are notoriously amenable to mold because of their nutrients and pH. Additionally, the drupelets on the berry harbor excess moisture, which is one of the biggest causes of moldy fruit.

Mold spores are found everywhere in the environment and inevitably end up on produce. To prevent your raspberries from molding prematurely, try rinsing them, but make sure they are completely dry when stored. You should also ensure that their container has slits to promote airflow during storage.

Mold on Raspberries

 Is it Okay to Eat Raspberries with Mold?

While you likely won’t get sick from eating one piece of moldy fruit, it is never a good idea. Even if there is one tiny speck of mold, it is best to completely discard the berry.

The most common symptoms of ingesting a small amount of mold are mild and include nausea and other gastrointestinal upsets.  However, some people are allergic to mold and can have severe, life-threatening reactions. Additionally, certain molds have the potential to emit poisonous toxins, so it’s best to avoid mold altogether.  Read More Here.

Can You Wash Mold Off of Raspberries?

A quick vinegar bath can be an effective way to remedy a carton of raspberries after finding one moldy berry. However, you should always discard visibly moldy berries as well as berries that are too soft to retain their shape.

The berries’ firmness is a great way to gauge whether the vinegar bath method is a suitable fix. When raspberries start to go mushy, it is a sign they are already spoiled. Also, severely spoiled berries will be too soft to withstand the vinegar bath and will completely deteriorate.

Add the remaining mold-free berries to a bowl filled with three cups of water and one cup of white vinegar. Gently swish the berries around for about a minute, and then rinse until the scent of vinegar is gone. 

Does Washing Raspberries Make Them Spoil Faster?

Because moisture is commonly thought of as an enemy to preserving fresh raspberries, many caution against washing raspberries before storage. Luckily, this precaution is unnecessary, as washing fresh berries before the fridge does not cause them to spoil.

Washing berries properly can actually make them last longer, if it’s done correctly. Because washing removes dirt and mold spores, it can be an essential step in the storing process. The key to increasing their longevity is to pat the berries dry after washing so there is no residual moisture.

You can spread the raspberries evenly apart on a paper towel for an hour and let them air dry. Be sure to keep the berries in a clean, dry place that is out of direct sunlight. Because raspberries have drupelets, they retain moisture more than other fruits and require a thorough drying process.

After an hour, gently pat the raspberries with a paper towel and return to the original container. Now, they’re ready to go in the fridge.

Are Mushy Raspberries Safe to Eat? 

If no mold is visible and if there is no odor, it is generally safe to eat mushy raspberries. Though, mushy raspberries may not taste good.

Also, it’s best to eat mushy raspberries immediately, as their loss of fullness indicates they’re on the verge of molding. Raspberries in this state are at the last stage before completely spoiling, so use them or lose them!

How Long do Raspberries Stay Fresh?

Fresh raspberries left on the countertop will only last for one day at about 70°F. Keep in mind, buying raspberries from the store is not the same as picking them fresh from the plant. Store-bought berries have often been exposed for longer periods of time than fresh berries.

This means that leaving them out will likely cause store-bought raspberries to spoil quicker than raspberries that were just picked.  Store-bought berries will likely only last for 2-3 hours if left at 70°F, so it’s best to refrigerate them as soon as you’re home.

For easy reference, check out this chart to see how long raspberries last in each household setting:

Outside76-90°F1 hour
Countertop (Room Temperature)70°F2-3 hours
Refrigerator32-34°F5-7 days
Freezer0°F12 months

What Happens if Raspberries are Left Out Overnight?

The result of leaving fresh raspberries out overnight will vary depending on how long they have been off the plant. Raspberries from the farmer’s market will likely last overnight, but store-bought berries will probably start spoiling.

To be safe, it’s best to discard any fruit that has been left out for more than 3 hours at approximately 70°F. If left at higher temperatures, like in a hot car from 76-90°F, it’s safest to discard after only 1 hour per CDC guidelines.

How Long Do Raspberries Last in the Fridge?

Storing raspberries in the fridge at 32-34°F increases their longevity by about 5-7 days. To maintain this temperature, keep the carton in the center of the lowest shelf. Because raspberries are a delicate fruit, it’s recommended to store them in their original container, as the slits allow airflow.

While storing berries in an airtight container is optimal for freezing, it can cause spoilage in the refrigerator. Sealed receptacles can trap excess moisture, which promotes mold growth.

What To Do With Mushy Raspberries

Alternatively, if you discover mushy raspberries and don’t want to eat them, you can use them in numerous tasty recipes.

If you’re in the mood for something cold, try making raspberry ice cream sandwiches. Soft raspberries are great in this recipe because they are easy to fold into the vanilla ice cream. Since mushy raspberries won’t retain their shape when mixed, your ice cream sandwiches will have a red marble aesthetic.

To make this cold treat, you’ll need 10 ounces of softened vanilla ice cream, 5 ounces of raspberries and 6 whole graham crackers. You can also add some of your favorite ice cream sauce for added flavor.

In total, this recipe will take about 20 minutes to complete and produces 6 sandwiches. With the following easy steps, you can make a sweet treat that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser:

  1. To start, combine the raspberries and vanilla ice cream in a large bowl. Gently mix to fold the berries into the ice cream. The harder you mix, the more the raspberries will lose their shape.
  2. Now, break each graham cracker into two pieces. Place about a 1/3 cup of ice cream onto the half of one graham cracker.
  3. If adding a sauce, drizzle the amount you desire on top of the ice cream. Then place the other half of the graham cracker on top to make the perfect raspberry ice cream sandwich.
  4. Serve immediately!

Overripe raspberries are also great for pie fillings because of their consistency. Soft berries make for a melt-in-your-mouth filling that’s sure to please all guests. Try adding the berries to a rhubarb pie, like in this recipe, for a fresh twist.

Fresh Versus Frozen Raspberries

While nothing beats the taste and smell of fresh raspberries, frozen raspberries are often more nutritious. Frozen berries are typically not subjected to as many pesticides as fresh due to their minimal time off the plant. Frozen berries are preserved as soon as they’re picked. This maintains the berries’ peak nutrients, as the decomposition process has not had time to start.

The problem with frozen berries emerges when its time to thaw them. Since raspberries are delicate, thawing tends to cause them to appear squished and discolored, making fresh berries nicer looking.

How to Tell if Frozen Raspberries are Bad?

When properly stored, frozen raspberries can last up to 12 months. Keep in mind that the best-by date may be sooner than 12 months. However, this doesn’t mean the berries are unsafe to eat after the date. To check if frozen raspberries have gone bad, check for dry spots, discoloration, or freezer burn. If any of these signs are present, it’s best to throw them away.

To properly freeze raspberries, make sure your freezer is set to 0 degrees F. You can keep store-bought frozen raspberries in their original packaging but try to store them away from other objects. Being tightly packed with other food parcels can damage the shape of the berries when thawed.

Can I Freeze Fresh Raspberries?

Freezing fresh raspberries is a great way to store extra berries that you won’t use within a week. It’s best to choose ripe berries, as these raspberries will contain the most nutrients and flavor.

To properly freeze fresh raspberries, follow these easy steps:

Step 1: To prepare the berries for freezing, rinse with a gentle stream of cool water and pat dry. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and place the berries far enough apart that none are touching.

Step 2: Place the baking tray in the freezer for 24 hours and move to the countertop.

Step 3: Remove the berries from the tray and place them in an airtight freezer bag. Place the bag in the freezer away from other objects so as not to damage the raspberries.

After following these steps, they should last for 12 months, and you’ll be able to enjoy fresh raspberries year-round. Though freezing is the most effective method for long-term storage, always check for signs of spoilage before eating.

Final Thoughts

The longevity of raspberries is entirely contingent upon how they’re stored. You can keep fresh raspberries at room temperature for a day and make a pie when they start to soften. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, you can freeze excess berries for year-long bliss. With these methods, you can make fresh raspberries a regular component of your families’ diet.

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