Chocolate Strawberries FAQ
This is a chocolate strawberries FAQ for frequently asked questions about making and storing chocolate-covered and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Making chocolate-covered strawberries is easy, once you know how. This page has a few questions and the answers that you need before beginning to make chocolate strawberries yourself.
How should strawberries be prepared for coating them with chocolate?
Just prepare them as normal, but make especially sure that they are dry (the chocolate won't stick if the berries are wet, and the chocolate will harden up if it gets wet from the water or berry juice). You may leave the "calyx" (or "hull") on the berries, if you wish, but it should be noted that leaving the calyx on will likely lead to quicker spoilage of the berries, and the leaves will likely dry out and look bad rather quickly as well. (Click
if you're not sure what the "calyx" of a strawberry is.)
What is the proper method for melting chocolate for strawberries?
- The first thing to mention is the most common wrong way to melt chocolate. Many people who have never melted chocolate before will just put solid chocolate in a pan and set the pan on the stove. BIG mistake!
For most stoves, getting the temperature just right is next to impossible, and keeping it there is even harder. If the stove is not warm enough, the chocolate won't melt, and if the stove is too warm, the chocolate will "scorch", that is, burn onto the hot bottom of the pan. When that happens, the chocolate is filled with burnt chocolate charcoal and ruined and the pan will be a terrible pain to clean. And if the pan is left while answering a phone call, the chocolate can catch fire!
Never heat chocolate this way! There are plenty of good ways, so there's no reason at all to do it incorrectly.
- The traditional way to melt chocolate is with a "double-boiler". A double-boiler is basically one pan inside of another. In the outer pan, water is heated until it's just a little warmer than needed to melt chocolate. In the inner pan, the chocolate is allowed to melt.
This is a workable way to melt chocolate for your chocolate strawberries, but it has some definite drawbacks, too. First, most people don't have a real double boiler. An actual double boiler is designed just for melting chocolate and similar things: just using two pans is not recommended, most especially because of the scald hazard involved from steam or accidentally knocking the pan of heated water off of the stove.
In fact, beyond most people not having a double boiler, another problem with double boiling is the scald hazard which it presents. Even a true double boiler uses hot water.
A third difficulty with a double boiler is the fact that you need to keep the chocolate (and whatever else is dipped in or covered by the chocolate) dry. If water gets in the chocolate, it can harden and become unusable, and if the things to be coated with chocolate become wet (from condensation, for instance), then the chocolate will not stick. Using a double boiler is fine, but if you're not sure about the best way to melt the chocolate, then perhaps you should consider one of the next methods.
- Another way to melt chocolate is to place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it. Since the power and performance of microwave ovens vary so much it isn't really possible to say exactly how long to microwave the chocolate. But in general, 1/2 cup (125 mL) of chopped up chocolate or chocolate chips will start to melt in 10-20 seconds in a 1000-watt microwave.
Just put the chopped up chocolate or chocolate chips in the bowl, microwave the chocolate for a few seconds, then take the chocolate out and stir the chocolate pieces for about 3 seconds. If the chocolate doesn't seem to be melting as you stir, just put the chocolate back in the oven and microwave it a few more seconds. Repeat this process as long as needed to get the chocolate pieces to melt together as you stir them. This tends to be a pretty good method for melting chocolate for coating strawberries.
Please note that the chocolate will try to harden in the melting bowl as it cools. You can simply microwave it more to try to melt it again. If it seems like it doesn't want to melt anymore, you can also try adding a small amount of cooking oil (a very light corn oil is probably best... whatever oil you use, it should be nearly tasteless). If you buy some kind of baking chocolate, the package will probably give more specific directions for microwave melting.
- A third way to melt chocolate is a fondue pot or fountain. Both the pot and fountain are specially designed for dipping foods into chocolate (or cheese, or a few other things). The only real problems with these are that if you don't have one it will cost money to buy one (in some places you may be able to rent a fountain), and the clean-up for a fountain is a bit more than for a fondue pot or a microwave-safe bowl (but fountains are fun to watch, and fun for parties). These come with directions which should be followed for how to melt chocolate for each specific machine.
- Finally, you may have the option to just buy the chocolate "pre-melted". Many places that sell packaged ice cream also sell some brand of chocolate topping that will harden when it gets cold.
Just put the strawberries (but not the chocolate topping!) in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes. When the strawberries come out of the refrigerator they should be cold enough to make the chocolate topping harden. Just pour the chocolate topping on your strawberries and you've got instant chocolate strawberries!
The worst problem with this is that the strawberries and chocolate may need to be kept cool to prevent the chocolate from re-melting.
How do you store chocolate-covered strawberries?
Do you refrigerate chocolate-covered strawberries?
Can you freeze chocolate-covered strawberries?
How long do chocolate-covered strawberries last?
Storing chocolate strawberries is not really possible. You really don't want to freeze them: besides the fact that the strawberries will swell as they freeze and thereby cause the chocolate coating to crack, when you thaw them out you will have a mushy, gooey strawberry inside (strawberries have so much water that they're cells break up almost completely during freezing).
You may be able to store them for a day or two in the refrigerator. In general, however, it is best to get the strawberries, prepare them, and coat them in chocolate as close to the time they will be served as possible.
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Hopefully this chocolate strawberries FAQ will be helpful to you as you make your own chocolate strawberries, or decide what to do with chocolate strawberries that have been given to you. Please remember that you found this FAQ here at StrawberriesForStrawberryLovers.Com, Home of the World's Happiest Fruit!
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