How To Store Chocolate Covered Strawberries For Fresh Flavor

A quick dunk in a bowl of melted chocolate can elevate salty pretzels, sugary churros, and even popcorn, but come February, no chocolate-covered treat is more iconic than strawberries. Unlike roses or a giant stuffed animal, these treats have so much widespread appeal that they can be gifted to virtually anyone you're thinking of on Valentine's Day (and even the largest box of berries will never overtake your living room like a ten-foot-tall teddy bear). 

Featuring a juicy combination of sweet and tart flavors, these plump, red, bite-sized pieces of tastiness have only one flaw: They don't last very long. The chocolate shell on your berries is prone to sweating, which is not as gross as it sounds, but can result in spoiled strawberries. "Sweat," in this case, means the development of condensation due to rapid temperature changes, such as when placing the strawberries in the refrigerator. Although they'll likely still taste good, the berries may not be as pretty to look at and may have a soggier texture, due the collection of water droplets on the surface.

When it comes time to store your chocolate-covered goodies, the best way to keep them fresh is to store them at room temperature — but only if you plan on eating them that same day. If you plan on tucking into them at a later date, then you can help preserve their shelf life by storing them in the fridge, where they'll last for up to two days.

Why chocolate-covered strawberries don't fare as well in the fridge

To help fresh chocolate-covered strawberries maintain all their scrumptious flavors and juicy yet rich texture, it's best to wrap them loosely with plastic wrap or foil and store them on your kitchen counter, where they'll stay good for up to a day. 

Strawberries have a high water content and tend to release moisture into the air when refrigerated, which can lead to mold. This might not be a huge problem with strawberries from the store, but chocolate-covered ones are usually sold in boxes that don't allow moisture to escape. The chocolate also releases its own moisture while sealing in escaping water from the berries, so that condensation might collect between the berry and its shell. Storing chocolate in the fridge isn't great for its taste or texture, in general.

If you like to make your own chocolate-covered berries, many recipes say to place them in the refrigerator after dipping, so the chocolate hardens. This is okay to do for a few minutes, but you'll want to pull them out of the fridge once the chocolate has set. The bottom line: Don't rush to put chocolate-covered strawberries in the fridge as soon as you get them, try to eat them within 24 hours, and barring that, store them in the fridge and watch for signs of spoilage.

Store them in the fridge for up to two days

To help minimize condensation, lay down a few paper towels in the bottom of a container, then layer your strawberries on top of the paper towels and loosely cover the whole thing with plastic wrap or foil, instead of the container's lid. As we said, a non-breathable container traps moisture, which encourages condensation and eventually, spoilage. When you enjoy your berries over the next day or so, watch out for signs of decay or mold.

If you don't plan on eating your strawberries within 48 hours, toss them in the freezer. Simply arrange them on a parchment-paper-lined pan and put them in your freezer to chill. Once they're frozen solid, transfer them over to a freezer-safe bag and store them, where they should be good for up to three months. Don't let them defrost completely before eating them, or they'll turn to mush. Enjoy them completely or partially frozen for a tasty, almost popsicle-like treat.