I Tried 7 Ways of Storing Grapes and the Winner Outlasted Them All (and Made a Huge Difference)

published Mar 14, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Seven different ways to store green grapes shown on a marble surface
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Fresh grapes have to be one of the most universally loved fruits. I’ve heard of people who don’t like bananas, avocados, or even mangoes, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a grape hater. I totally get the appeal. They’re delicious for out-of-hand snacking (so crisp! so juicy!) and wonderful alongside a sandwich, in a fruit salad, or on a charcuterie board

They’re not the cheapest fruit, either, so it’s a real shame when they go bad. I know from experience what a bummer it is to toss out moldy, squishy, or shriveled fruit. So we set out to find the best way to keep grapes fresher for longer, settling on seven different storage methods we pit against each other to see which ones kept them in tip-shop shape. The good news? They all did well for a week. Beyond that, though, some methods failed while others emerged as keepers. Read on to learn more.

Quick Overview

So, What Is the Best Way to Store Grapes?

A Few Notes on Methodology

  • The grapes: I chose to test both red and green grapes with each method — a medium-sized bunch of each. All of the grapes remained on the stems (i.e., I did not pluck them and have them as loose, individual grapes). I selected all of the grapes from the same store on the same day, opting for the freshest-looking, firmest ones I could find and of course skipping past any with signs of mold. 
  • The testing: I stored all of the grapes for a full two weeks. After one week, they all fared well and tasted and felt pretty much as fresh as they did the day I bought them. After another week, they started showing some signs of age, and that’s when I ended the test. All of my evaluations are based on two-week-old grapes.
  • Spoilage rate: With each method, I noted the amount of spoilage the grapes exhibited after two weeks. By “spoilage,” I mean grapes that were shriveled or that developed any moldy or soft spots — ones that I would pick off the bunch and toss in the compost bin. The percentage stated takes into account both the red and green grapes; if the spoilage rate differed significantly between the two types of grapes, I made sure to note that.
  • Ratings: I judged each method on a scale of 1 to 10, with a rating of 10 reserved for absolute perfection. I took into consideration the texture and flavor of the grapes, noting the amount of spoilage that occurred with each method.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Grape Storage Method: Freezer

  • Spoilage: 0%
  • Rating: 4/10 

About this method: To test this method, I placed unwashed grapes inside a plastic freezer bag, sealed the bag, and stashed them in the middle of my freezer for two weeks. 

Results: OK, I know … One of these things is not like the other. All of the other methods kept the grapes in their fresh (unfrozen) state. But we wanted to see what would happen and evaluated the grapes both straight from the freezer and thawed. 

Now, I have enjoyed frozen grapes many times; they’re a great summertime treat. But I have never tasted them alongside fresh grapes and so never before noticed how much the flavor changes. In both the frozen and thawed states, the grapes went completely one-note sweet; they lost any trace of tang that makes for a balanced flavor. They were shockingly sweet, even more cloying than cotton candy grapes. I thought it might be a fluke, except that the effect was consistent between both green and red grapes (and I had my husband taste to confirm). Even though there wasn’t exactly any spoilage, the texture of the thawed grapes was very soft, akin to the squishy canned grapes you get in fruit cocktail. They were very juicy but alarmingly soft. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Grape Storage Method: Original Packaging, Unwashed, Middle of Fridge

  • Spoilage: 21%
  • Rating: 5/10 

About this method: This was perhaps the easiest method to test. I simply kept the fruit in the perforated bag it came in at the store and then placed it on a shelf in the center of my fridge.

Results: The green grapes fared better in this test, with about half the spoilage rate as the red grapes. Some of the red grapes started developing mold where the stems connect to the fruit. Both types of grapes experienced a good bit of shriveling, and several red grapes had collapsed and were unpleasantly squishy.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Grape Storage Method: Washed, Dried, Covered Loosely in Bowl in Fridge

  • Spoilage: 19%
  • Rating: 6/10 

About this method: To wash the grapes, I submerged them in a large bowl of water and gently agitated them. I then drained them, air-dried them on clean kitchen towels for a little over an hour, and then patted dry any remaining moisture. I then arranged the grapes in a wide, shallow bowl and covered them loosely with plastic wrap before placing them on a shelf in the middle of my refrigerator.

Results: Almost 20 percent of the grapes had noticeably shriveled, withered skins, and the red and green grapes shared the same rate of spoilage. They were mostly firm, but a fair amount of the grapes were squishy. The flavor was fresh and vibrant, but the texture suffered.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Grape Storage Method: Sealed in Plastic Gallon Bag in Fridge

  • Spoilage: 19%
  • Rating: 7/10 

About this method: For this method, I simply removed the grapes from their original packaging, kept them unwashed, placed them in a gallon-sized plastic bag, sealed the bag, and stored it in the middle of the refrigerator.

Results: There was condensation on the bag (it looked fogged up) and noticeable moisture on the surface of the grapes. When I opened the bag, the grapes smelled as if they’d been lightly fermented. They didn’t taste fermented, though; the flavor was fresh and sweet-tart, and their skins were smooth, not wrinkly. But almost 20% of the grapes (equal across both types) felt soft and had started to collapse.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Grape Storage Method: Original Packaging, Unwashed, in Crisper

  • Spoilage: 12%
  • Rating: 8/10 

About this method: In another easy-to-execute test, I simply brought the grapes home from the store and tossed them in the crisper drawer, still in the perforated bag they came in. 

Results: The few that did spoil were nearly completely withered. Surprisingly, though, most of them remained firm and unblemished, with smooth skins. The flavor was bright, fresh, and sweet-tart.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Grape Storage Method: Washed and Stored in a Ventilated Container

  • Spoilage: 10%
  • Rating: 9/10 

About this method: I washed the grapes by swishing them gently in a large bowl of water, then drained them completely on clean kitchen towels (making sure to pat them dry after air-drying them for an hour or so). I then placed them in a ventilated container in the crisper drawer. 

Results: The grapes fared quite well with this method. Only a small percentage showed signs of spoilage. None of the grapes developed any mold; just a few had shriveled skins. When I tasted them, the grapes were all quite juicy, full-flavored, and fairly crisp overall.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Grape Storage Method: Vinegar Bath, Airtight Container

  • Spoilage: 3%
  • Rating: 10/10 

About this method: I followed the advice from The Cross Legacy (from the author of the I Bought It, Now What book series). I cut the grapes into small-ish clusters (still on the stem) and soaked them for 2 minutes in a large bowl of water with ¼ cup white vinegar added. I then drained the grapes, set them out on a couple of kitchen towels, and allowed them to dry completely before dropping them into a couple of large glass jars lined with paper towels. I sealed the jars and placed them in the fridge.

Results: I was blown away by this method. There was almost no spoilage at all (one green grape and two small red ones). The grapes were in pristine shape: firm, with the crisp snap you get from only the freshest fruit. The flavor was vibrant, sweet-tart, and rich. The grapes seemed basically identical to the condition they were in when I bought them. Even though I ended the test after two weeks, I know these would have stayed good for several more days.

Key Takeaways

  • If you just can’t be bothered with extra prep, rejoice! Keeping grapes in their original packaging and storing them in the crisper keeps them mostly fresh for a couple of weeks. 
  • If you have (or have been gifted) a set of ventilated storage containers, those truly do help keep your produce fresher longer. 
  • For ultimate freshness that should last beyond two weeks, it’s worth your while to do the vinegar bath. It’s a method that also fared exceptionally well in our blueberry storage showdown and won our strawberry storage showdown