Fresh cropped strawberries lay in punnets during the opening of the crop season on May 19, 2010 in Luedinghausen, western Germany. According to the regional chamber of agriculture in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germans eat yearly 230,000 tons of strawberries.     AFP PHOTO    DDP/VOLKER HARTMANN    GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read VOLKER HARTMANN/DDP/AFP via Getty Images)
Give That Carton Of Berries A Shake To Check For Quality
By Dawn Hammon
Freshness is key when it comes to berries, so ensure you grab the right batch by shaking the clamshell containers. The sound and appearance provide a lot of information.
Rather than simply looking at them, rattle the container to determine whether they're firm. Fresh berries will rattle around since they don't stick to each other or the container.
They shouldn't slide across the surface but tumble as they move. You should hear the fruit firmly hitting the sides of the container as you rotate it, almost as if it were full of hard candies.
Berries that stick together when shaken should be avoided since they're soft and will likely mold soon. Sometimes, the container is too full to allow the berries to move around.
Inspect the berries for mold spots, and watch for any juices inside the container. If the pad at the bottom of the berries' container is soaked, your fruit likely isn't fresh.