The California strawberries my husband buys are completely white at the stem, but bright red throughout the body, as well as being tasteless and staying fresh in the fridge for 2 weeks or more.

Is it likely that they've been processed in some way to keep them "fresh" for longer? What might have been done to them?

  • Please try to avoid words like "chemical" here - essentially all of food and cooking is chemistry and the word carries about as much meaning as "food". I assume what you really want to know is why they appear to be staying fresh for so long, so I'm editing the question accordingly.
    – Aaronut
    Mar 29, 2014 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


Most commercial fruit is picked before being completely ripened because once it is ripened it has a very limited shelf life, and strawberries are no exception. Strawberries ripen from the tip to the stem and a good indicator that a strawberry is unripe is a white ring around the stem area.

Some fruits can be artificially ripened by exposing them to ethylene gas, but strawberries are not one of them, so it is not likely they are chemically treated as there's no gain. They may have had their color deepened, which is an artificial process but as I believe that's using Carbon Dioxide gas I'd hesitate to call them chemically treated.

Out of season strawberries often come very long distances, in order for them to last they have to be picked well before they are at their peak. Once they are picked they stop developing and ripening, and nothing can be done to improve their flavor. If you are going to buy them out of season try and pick ones that are completely red as they have a better chance of tasting good, otherwise it's best to spend your money elsewhere.

  • 1
    Also, out of season, canned or frozen tend to be better as there's a much better chance that they were actually picked in season.
    – SourDoh
    Mar 28, 2014 at 15:33
  • Absolutely, much cheaper too generally.
    – GdD
    Mar 28, 2014 at 15:41

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