The following is a list of some reasons why your strawberries might turn mushy or even brown when they are ripe.
1) Starch in Strawberries – When strawberries are harvested, the berries are removed from their stems and placed into large bins called bines (pronounced “bine”).
Bins have metal frames around them to prevent damage during transport. Bines must be kept clean so that the berries don’t get damaged while being transported. If the berries are left out in the open, they will be exposed to air and germinate.
Some berries such as blueberries do not need to be cleaned at all because they are very resistant to mold. Other types of berries like raspberries and blackberries may require cleaning after every harvest period.
2) Overripe Strawberries – Sometimes strawberries just aren’t ready yet when they reach maturity.
They are still green and tender. If the berries are allowed to continue to age too long, they will lose their flavor and texture. The best way to tell if your strawberries are overripe is if they taste bitter or sour.
3) Heat – Hot weather causes berries to go bad faster than cold temperatures do.
During hot summer months, heat can cause berries to become moldy quicker than it does during colder winter months. This is why people in warmer climates usually have a shorter strawberry growing season than people who live in colder regions.
4) Damaged Strawberries – When berries are damaged, it allows for entry points for mold to grow on the inside of the fruit.
If you drop a strawberry on the ground and eat it, it’s probably going to taste terrible and leave you with a bad stomach ache.
5) Pest Infestation – There are a number of different types of bugs and animals that love to eat strawberries.
If you see any wildlife near your strawberry patch, you should get rid of it before the problem gets out of hand. Most wild animals prefer their food dead, so destroying their habitats and gardens will help prevent them from wanting to eat your berries.
6) Cross-Pollination – If you have multiple strawberry plants growing near each other, it is possible for the plants to cross-pollinate.
This can sometimes cause the berries to taste strange and leave them partially unmarketable. It can also cause some of the plants to produce nothing but leaves and no fruit at all.
Why are my strawberries not red when they are ripe?
1) Genetics – Different types of strawberries will ripen differently.
Some types of berries such as yellow varieties and albinos won’t ripen and are only good for ornamental purposes.
2) Poor Storage – If you store your strawberries in the refrigerator, you might not be doing them any favors.
The cold temperature will prevent the ripening process from taking place. To speed up the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with an apple. The apple gives off a gas called “ethylene” which helps to ripen other fruits and vegetables.
Storing your strawberries in a paper bag will help prevent the ethylene gas from accelerating the rotting process.
3) Ripening Time – It can take up to two weeks for some varieties of berries to ripen completely on the plant.
Why do some of my berries have white spots on them?
1) Powdery Mildew – If your leaves have white powder on them that can easily be wiped off, this is a good indication of the presence of powdery mildew. You can prevent this from happening by spraying your plants with a mixture of one part milk and 9 parts water (9:1). Another preventative measure you can take is to grow your plant in a pot instead of the ground.
Sources & references used in this article:
Timing of Fungicide Applications for Botrytis cinerea Based on Development Stage of Strawberry Flowers and Fruit by JC Mertely, SJ MacKenzie, DE Legard – Plant disease, 2002 – Am Phytopath Society
Experimental tests with the new biofungicide Pythium oligandrum against grey mould and sour rot on vine, grey mould on strawberry and Sclerotinia on lettuce and … by S Alessandri, F Cavazza, D D’Ascenzo… – … , Chianciano Terme (SI …, 2018 – cabdirect.org
Plant-parasitic nematodes of Uruguay: a preliminary report by N MINAGAWA, D MAESO-TOZZI – Japanese Journal of Nematology, 1990 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Notes on the strawberry root aphid and the effects of its feeding punctures on strawberry roots by AA Hildebrand – Scientific Agriculture, 1938 – NRC Research Press
Root-rots of certain non-cereal crops by GH Berkeley – The Botanical Review, 1944 – Springer
UV hormesis in fruits: a concept ripe for commercialisation by G Shama, P Alderson – Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2005 – Elsevier
Fungous root rots of the strawberry by JHL Truscott – Canadian Journal of Research, 1934 – NRC Research Press
Fruit and soil quality of organic and conventional strawberry agroecosystems by S Powers – 1897 – Florida Agricultural Experiment …
… , and Holtz, BA 2011. Efficacy and Timing of Fungicides Bactericides, and Biologicals for Deciduous Tree Fruit, Nut, Strawberry, and Vine Crops. Department of … by JP Reganold, PK Andrews, JR Reeve… – PloS one, 2010 – journals.plos.org