What are Long Stem Strawberries and are They Worth the Upcharge?
You've probably seen them in the produce section, but how are "long stem" strawberries any different from the normal quart of strawberries that you typically buy for 3 or 4 bucks? Boasting a deliciously red, plump body with a firm, long stem, these strawberries are perfect for, chocolate dipping, gift-giving, or simply creating a pretty presentation. All frills aside though, there isn't much of a difference, and these long stem berries will more than likely cost you way more than the normal, stemless berries. In the name of beautfiul chocolate-dipped strawberries, it's really up to you if you think the cause is worth it.
It might seem counterintuitive to pay extra for a specific food that has an additional part that you won’t eat. That’s like putting forth a couple extra dollars for a hamburger that is wrapped in multiple layers of tin foil. Why go out of your way for a seemingly useless component that ultimately has nothing to do with what you will consume? In the case of long stem strawberries, this is precisely the question that we’re asking (welcome to Intro to the Philosophy of Berries 101).
Long stem strawberries are, as the name implies, the plumpest, firmest strawberries of the bunch, adorned with a fancy long stem... the same fancy long stem that is typically trimmed from strawberries before they hit the produce section. This nice little accessory makes it extremely easy to dip them in chocolate, roll them around in pretty toppings, or dangle them in front of the eyes of your loved ones.
Aside from being more visually pleasing and mechanically easier to submerge in melted chocolate, there’s really nothing superior about the stemmed fruit. Because they are typically marketed as specialty produce, whether it be in upscale grocery stores or part of gourmet fruit gifts, the strawberries are often times larger, redder, and plumper than what you may find in a run-of-the-mill plastic clamshell of strawberries; these giftable berriese are selected with beauty in mind. Long stem strawberries are hand-picked and custom-packed, so the scraggly, under-loved strawberries that will eventually adorn your bowl of morning yogurt typically don’t make the cut.
Long stem strawberries are available year-round, however they’re particularly popular in the winter months, because they make the perfect gift for the holidays and especially Valentine’s Day (alongside a bouquet of long stem roses, obviously). Let it be clear, there is nothing different about the biology of a long stem strawberry versus a no-stem one, other than the fact that long stem berries are harvested with the intention of maintaining the structure and integrity of the stem the berry grows on in nature. If you’re buying berries with the intention of dipping and garnishing them, you can always opt for a quick shortcut and simply pierce your regulary strawberries with a toothpick, allowing for a more easily maneuvered dipping experience.
So, when all is said and done, are they truly worth the money? You’re paying extra money for a part of a strawberry that is normally removed, but since you are a devoted Valentine and want to make Instagram-worthy, chocolate-dipped strawberries at home rather than succumb to those less-enticing mail-order gifts... this is simply the price you pay. And that level of devotion, quite frankly, is something that you can’t put a price on.