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KitchenAid Just Teased Its New Color of the Year, And We’ve Got Predictions

The brand teased four types of salt as options for the new color, which they’ll announce on February 8. We take a salty stab at predicting the new drop.

We predict KitchenAid's 2024 color of the year.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

There are very few things in this life that are certain: (1) hot dogs are sandwiches, (2) frosting is a condiment, and (3) when KitchenAid releases the teaser for its color of the year, my colleagues and I are allowed to make very serious, very batshit predictions about what it will be.

That day, my friends, is today. Their launch page claims it's about salt, but...we're not so sure. After all, this is the year of AI, and hallucinations are the name of the game.

Here's what we have to go on while we wait for the February 8 confirmation: In the clip, we see a cube of Northern-lights-tinted ice. A vague, uplifting bop plays as the block cracks and fractures in a gorgeous, menacing swirl of blue, green, and purple. At its core, a deep red and grey heart pulses. The caption mentions breaking through monotony. Does this mean breaking free, or just breaking in general? My money is on the beauty of despair, the passage of time, and pain, both literal and figurative. After all, 2024 has hardly promised anything better thus far.

Prediction #1: Nine-Month Cruise Post–Drake Passage Pink

If slate grey and the height of consumerism had a baby, this post-Daiquiri vom "pink" mixer would keep you wonderful company as you beat your batters and cream your butter. After all, why not experience the churn from your cookie dough's point of view? I, for one, want it. I need it! Give it to me! Give it to me now!!

Prediction #2: Winter Barbie Blue

It's Barbie, but it's Barbie the moment her irrepressible thoughts of death hit. This actually works, because we're done with pink and because that moment was aesthetic in a way we'll see scattered across TikTok for at least a year to come. There's no world in which this drop doesn't actually draw some dotted line to Barbie. Or to Travis Kelce somehow? Not Taylor, that'd be too obvious. Anyway, I bet the color "Slurpee blue" is his fav.

Prediction #3: Mood Ring

Did you begin that batch of brownies thinking it'd fix everything? Did you decide to whip a little cream just to make it all go away? Nice try, but it sure fucking won't, and this color-shifting hue is gonna make sure you never forget it.

Prediction #4: Frigid Death Blue

Like Mood Ring, it can't be defined as any one color. It's best described as the shade of life draining from you, the ice setting into your veins. Maybe you'll have the good fortune of good 'ol John Torrington—maybe someone will dig you up one day.

Prediction #5: Black Hole Black

Just don't get too close, or time will become ever slower as you almost, but never quite, get your cup of flour into the mixer bowl. It's all for the best, though. The results would have been way too dense.

The Serious Eats Team’s Favorite Recipes of 2023

The culinary and editorial staff discusses their favorite new recipes of the year.

A picture of ceviche with a sticky note graphic overlaid
Serious Eats / Lorena Masso

I sat here for a while attempting a whole spiel about how good our work was this past year. Each version of it, though, could be distilled into: "TL;DR: Our work was really so good." And honestly, the more I think about it, the recipes really speak for themselves!

I hope you'll trust that, as with all other years of Serious Eats past, we are so thrilled with and grateful for the kinds of work we were able to get live onto this silly-goofy-nerdy-so-good website. And while yes, of course, we are proud of all of it, we wanted to round up a few standout examples of recipes our team loved so much that they made them repeatedly. Without further ado (and in no particular order, I might add!), here are seven recipes SE editors firmly categorized as "favs."

Mazatlán Ceviche de Sierra (Sinaloan Mackerel Ceviche) by Rose Egelhoff

Overhead view of ceviche on a tablescape
Serious Eats / Lorena Masso

I guess if I had to choose just one that I have actually made, it'd be this one. I have such a weakness for any kind of raw or cured fish that I jumped at the opportunity to cross-test this recipe from Rose Egelhoff, our Mazatlán-based culinary correspondent, along with her equally fabulous recipe for Mexican-style tuna sashimi. Either one could get my vote for favorite recipe of the year (of the ones I've cooked, which, sadly, is far too few of them), but the Sinaloan mackerel ceviche stands out for its uniqueness on top of its deliciousness. Different from any ceviche I've had before, this one features chopped oily mackerel with grated carrots, minced cilantro, and finely diced red onion and cucumber, all marinated in lime juice. Then you mound it on tostadas with a thick layer of mayo, sliced avocado, and plenty of hot sauce. I polished off my test batch late one night with help from a neighbor, who probably wasn't expecting me to knock on her door at 9pm and say, "Hi, I just made way too much Sinaloan mackerel ceviche, any chance you want to come over and help me eat it?" I'm certain, though, that she didn't regret it! —Daniel Gritzer, senior culinary director

Rhode Island–Style Stuffed Quahog Clams ("Stuffies") by Leah Colins

Overhead view of stuffies on a plate with lemon wedges and fork
Serious Eats / Kevin White

As a Rhode Islander, there are few things nearer and dearer to my heart than clear chowder (iykyk), clam cakes, and stuffies. In fact, stuffies (a.k.a stuffed clams) are so iconic to the Ocean State, that our tourism board wants to put giant stuffies around the country to attract visitors to our briny shores. I mean, look at that thing; why wouldn’t you want to come visit??

This Rhode Island-Style Stuffed Quahogs recipe from Leah Colins does the iconic Rhode Island dish right: She’s got fresh quahogs, lots of buttah (with a Rhode Island accent) and, of course, Portuguese chourico—the dried, smoky, garlicky sausage that is ubiquitous here (you can find three different local brands in Walmart, it’s that widespread). The filling is hearty but not pasty, with the savory, porky smokiness of chourico, woodsy thyme, briny clams, and pep from lemon and grassy parsley. This is a dish best forked into your mouth at a picnic table near the beach, with a cup of Del’s Lemonade (or a ‘Gansett) in the other hand. —Grace Kelly, associate commerce editor

Buffalo Chicken Salad by Julia Levy

Overhead view of buffalo chicken salad
Serious Eats / Robby Lozano

This recipe had my name written all over it: saucy buffalo chicken, creamy blue cheese, salad—check, check, check! It was easy, pretty quick in terms of hands-on time and best of all, had the extra boost of the buffalo flavor I always crave by having both a sauce on the chicken AND a dressing. (Tip: if you're short on time, high-quality store-bought blue cheese dressing could stand in for homemade.) —Michelle Edelbaum, VP, GM

The Perfect Cup of Chai by Swetha Sivakumar

Overhead view of a hand holding a cup of chai
Serious Eats / Ananta Gulati

I spent a portion of my childhood in India and adore chai. I recently made our chai recipe and it was the most perfect thing to drink on a chilly day. I loved reading about the technique behind it, too (like why it's important to nearly boil-over the milk three times). —Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, senior commerce editor

Tahdig (Persian Crunchy Rice), by Nader Mehravari

Side angle view of Tahdig arrange on a mound of rice on a blue platter
Serious Eats / Nader Mehravari

It's no secret we're all a little bit smitten with Nader Mehravari's recipes. His photos are striking, his knowledge of Persian cuisine is extensive, and his appreciation for recipe details is a Serious Eater's dream. I've made the saffron, yogurt, and egg yolk variation of his tahdig exactly as he has written (and I confess, I almost never cook recipes at home verbatem). It was a triumph. I literally forced everyone at the dinner table to high-five me. I mentally prepared myself for utter failure, and was just exhilarated with the gorgeous, perfectly crisp, golden crust, with tender singular, well-seasoned grains of rice. No other rice dish has this combination of textures. Excited for more Nader recipes to come in 2024! —Leah Colins, senior culinary editor

Albóndigas de Ricota (Argentine Ricotta Balls) by Kevin Vaughn

Overhead view of albondigas de ricotta on a blue background
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

I think about Kevin Vaughn's albondigas de ricota constantly. Truly, they've crossed my mind at least once a month since we shot and published his recipe in March. Very similarly to Kevin's experience (which he details in his wonderful headnote), I was very skeptical about a dish of just balls of ricotta. But the thoughtful combination of seasoning and spices in each bite of these perfectly cheesy, tomato sauce-covered balls are so comforting. I tell everyone to make them. —Amanda Suarez, associate director of visuals

Guaydtiaao Reuua Neuua Dtoon (Thai Boat Noodles With Braised Beef), by Derek Lucci

Overhead view of GuaydtiaaoBpetDtoon
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

It's hard to pick a favorite of Derek's Thai noodle soups. Is it the tom yam soup–flavored rendition that, in some unexpected alchemy, tastes like brothy pad Thai? The bowl of boat noodles that perfectly balances a complex range of flavors and aromas, in turn savory, sweet, sour, hot, spiced, and oh so beefy? I might have an easier time picking a favorite child (kidding! kidding! Future versions of my children, I love you both equally!). But I guess if I had to pick just one, it'd be the duck noodle soup, which makes more out of a single duck than I ever thought possible, from an herbal and spiced broth that keeps calling you back for more, and tender slices and shreds of duck meat. Buy a duck, find the Thai ingredients (by far the biggest task of all the recipes), make it. You won't regret it. —Daniel Gritzer

Mise en Place #0003: Dinner Party Chicken, an Exquisite Persian Salad, and Round-Ups Galore

In the third installment of our new weekly series, we give you a behind-the-line look at our recipes, Slack conversations, and more.

Collage for various items for Mis-En-Place#3
Serious Eats

Listen, if I’m being completely honest, I started writing this end-of-week recap midday on Tuesday. In my defense, though, it’s already been a long week! Oh! And if you’re still wondering what this whole schtick is, welcome to the third installment of Mise en Place, a weekly nonsensical recap of what we do at this beloved website. You can read the first two editions here and here.

It Tastes Like (Picture-Perfect, Thoughtfully Roasted) Chicken

Let this heretofore be known as the week we did it: We published The Correct Way to roast your way around a chicken. More specifically, Daniel published an incredibly authoritative, wonderfully comprehensive, helpful-as-heck guide to roasting a chicken literally perfectly. Call it a dinner party-worthy chicken, why don’t you. Also: It’s long! But don’t let that deter you; with patience comes perfection. And let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be a SE guide if it wasn’t long…just saying. 

Side view of a roast chicken
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

I think you’ll all enjoy this piece and its accompanying table of contents—we love an extensive table of contents! This concludes the new content coming through from our sprawling, freshly revamped Knife Skills undertaking (you can find everything we’ve published in that vein here).

Nader, hi!

For the past few months, we’ve been working with Nader Mehravar, a longtime and accomplished academic and expert on Persian cookery and Iranian food. Nader’s work is…absolutely flawless. This is worth mentioning in our silly little  mailbag round-ups because this is a wildly discerning team of editors. His previous SE endeavors on topics like how to make tahdig and how to stock a Persian pantry were not only successful, but an excellent starting point for expanding our content surrounding Iranian and Persian cuisine (which has long been virtually nonexistent). So when the opportunity arose to publish his Sālād-é-Shirāzi recipe and gorgeous, near-perfect visuals to match (let the record show our visuals lead Amanda is as equally discerning as her culinary counterparts), we rushed to get it live on the site immediately. Rest assured, there’s more! to come for Nader and our Iranian and Persian section of the site in the new year, and for that, we’re ecstatic!

I just checked, and we mentioned Nader eight times across Slack conversations this past week, all in “oh man, does that look good” and “HOW LUCKY ARE WE”-type capacities. Go forth and chop vegetables! We promise it’ll be great. 

Round-Ups Make the World Go, Well, Round

Here’s a truly BTS-type bit for you: If you’ve noticed a rapid influx of round-up production from one, that’s because…a lot of you are clicking on round-ups these days! We decided to up these deliberately curated listicles given the amount of eyes and feedback from our initial batches. In particular, the past week saw a lot of movement in the world of cookies, hearty bean recipes, and pasta soups. I’m spending an ungodly amount of time looking into why these URLs are spiking the way they are. My working theory—and I am not kidding—is that we are all deeply, deeply depressed. Or, we’re just well into comfort food and baking season. How can you not be when the temps begin to drop? It’s one of the two! All we can say is that cozy is the name of the game here. 

See you next week!

You Hauled the Whole Farmers Market—Now What?

Here are all our storage, ripening, and cooking tips for different types of produce you might get a little too excited about at the farmers market.

Slow-motion pan of a farmers market haul

We know two things to be true: A farmers market is a beautiful thing. We are wide-eyed, greedy creatures. The combination? Frantic Sundays spent clomping around with four buckets of assorted berries, three totes filled to the brim with leafy greens, and two egg cartons balanced on our heads, shouting joyfully, unabashedly to our designated farmers market buddies that “HENRY HAS ESPECIALLY PERFECT-LOOKING PEACHES TODAY, DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD MAKE PIES, GALETTES, AND COBBLERS THIS WEEK? OR MAYBE WE COULD SEND ALL OF OUR NEIGHBORS’ KIDS TO SCHOOL THIS WEEK WITH THREE-TO-FOUR SNACK PEACHES EACH DAY? I DON’T KNOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK? LET’S PROBABLY GET SIX DOZEN JUST IN CASE.” 

It’s not our fault! Fruit is just so pretty. Vegetables are majestic things. Clutching piles of produce with nothing but hopes and dreams and possibilities ahead is just totally fucking joyful. And the aesthetic? Please! 

Basket of fruit and vegetables
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

…And then, it’s Sunday again, and nobody’s kids wanted peaches this week (...weird kids!), nor did you have time to make any pies, galettes, or cobblers, let alone feed yourself much more than a total of four of the eggs and one of the squashes. And you didn’t want this to be the case, but alas. It doesn’t stop you from going back.

Farmer's market compilation

You head to the market, shaken, with plans to compromise, but undeterred.

You are us. We are you. And we made the decision—for us, but also for you—to head into all future Sundays with game plans for the day and the subsequent six days. Not only does it lessen waste (a topic on which we could publish many, many packages), but it also allows us to get as close as possible to produce perfection.

So welcome to our "You Hauled the Whole Farmers Market—Now What?" undertaking. We spent time ripening produce that oftentimes over-ripens before you’ve gotten a chance to try it at its best. We spent even more time keeping that produce alive at its peak ripeness! We infused a lot of things at their most flavorful into water in order to help you do the same! We baked………so many fruit-centric desserts. So many. But we pickled some too!

Get into it. Have a blast! See you on Sunday. I’ll be the one (with a written-out strategy) whisper-screaming ecstatically about peaches.

How to Ripen and Store Your Produce

Luxuriating in and taking pictures of produce is an art; getting whatever you bought to its peak ripeness at exactly the moment you need it to be gorgeous, fresh, and, well, ripe, is a science. We spent more than a month with lots and lots of fruits and vegetables to determine how you should treat each for maximum shelf life. Happy produce-buying! And picture-taking!

  • How to Store and Ripen Peaches: Timely ripeness is tricky with these sweet, fuzzy babies. Here’s exactly how to handle peaches so that you don’t have to eat them all at once, standing over your sink with the juices dripping down your chin…though that’s always a good time, too. 
  • How to Store Cherries: Another finicky drupe that too often devastates with bruises and tracks. Cherries require hustle and fridge space—more on how to prep yourself for them (and, sure, how to prep them, too) here.  
  • How to Store Green Beans: An easy and fantastic staple you can plan for a week out…if you treat them well and leave them to their own devices. Mostly. More on proper green bean treatment here.

How to Hydrate With Your Produce

Filling a glass with water

Water? Important! Also water? Boring! Our senior culinary editor Leah created three bright, fruity, and gently herbaceous versions of water using foolproof, punchy, and painless extraction and infusion techniques. Head into next week’s trip to the farmers market with a plan in place for hydrating, but, like, in a fun way.

Playing With Produce (Or: Mostly Baking With Peaches, But Also Baking With Berries and Pickling With…Rinds)

The simpler, the better, but still the absolute best. Enjoy these produce-focused recipes, all of which were developed with maximum fruit and flavor impact in mind. 

  • Strawberry Shortcake Recipe: A classic that deserves your finest strawberries—and your finest cream. The latter of which you should also totally pick up at the farmers market, but this is a produce-focused editorial undertaking!!
  • Pickled Watermelon Rind Recipe: Daniel’s favorite childhood snack comes to life on-site. Easy like Sunday morning…at the farmers market, after the farmers market, all around the farmers market? Easy!
  • Peach Crisp Recipe: Per Genevieve, this recipe is “good enough to warrant turning on the oven in the middle of summer.” She’s right—it is.
Overhead view of peach crisp served with ice cream
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

How to Store Green Beans

We tested temperature, humidity levels, washing, and storage to determine how to keep your fresh green beans ripe for weeks.

Overhead view of green beans appearing on title
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Don’t ask me why I love green beans. Don’t ask me why I never don’t have green beans in my home. Don’t ask me why I—alright, fine. Fine! I will forever sing green beans’ praises from rooftops because they are actually one of the very few vegetables I can eat. I’ll spare you the details of years of veggie driven trial-and-error dictated by my medically complicated intestines, but yeah. When I can do greens, beans are one of just a literal few I’m reaching for. 

And so I’ll always ride hard for string beans, but I’ll also sometimes need a little break from them and then forget about them at the bottom of my crisper drawer until the very last minute. Such is the nature of vegetables you’re stuck with, I suppose. But this did land me in a very ideal spot: I needed to learn how to preserve green beans for as long as possible both for myself and for work! I was thrilled to use our summer produce package as an excuse to determine once and for all how to store green beans for as long as possible while maintaining their quality, and I got to work.

The Shelf Life of Green Beans

Going into this experiment, I’d truly never thought to treat green beans in any other way than to transport them from wherever I got them (during the summer and fall, that’s usually a farmers market; in spring and winter, either from a grocery store bin or—not gonna lie—pre-bagged) and throw them in the fridge until I was ready to use them. This had been working more or less fine for me, and apart from the occasional shriveled bean, I can't remember a time I’d ever accidentally rotted green beans beyond the point of being fit for consumption. But then, why settle for shriveled green beans if they can remain perky and plump even longer?

Overhead view of green beans in hand
Serious Eats / Tess Koman

It turns out it’s been well-established since at least the 1980s that a controlled atmosphere around to 8°C (46°F) is optimal for extending the post-harvest shelf life of green beans for as long as possible—roughly seven to ten days according to this University of Florida paper. The lower end of that temperature scale (4°C) is more likely to be in line with the highest temp in your fridge at home.

Studies have also noted string beans require high levels of humidity for preservation, so between that and the fact that my fridge runs between 1° to 4°C (33.8° to 39.2°F), I knew temperature and humidity management were two of the most important factors I’d be playing with in my own testing. (Related: It turns out we should all have hygrometers, I guess??)

Testing Temperature

Given that these were all scrappy, at-home tests, I worked within the constraints of my home kitchen. I accepted that the ambient temperature in my kitchen would be "room temp," and my cold-storage tests would be limited to what my fridge was set to. I then brought home all the different green beans I could find: handfuls of loose, whole ones from out-in-the-open grocery store bins, pre-trimmed ones sitting right next to the whole ones.

I had no idea what temperature all of those beans had been held at in their journey from field to store, and I certainly did not whip out a thermometer in the middle of a New Jersey Whole Foods produce section—I just bought everything I could find home as quickly as possible, removed any visibly bad beans from the bunch, mixed them all together evenly, and created even batches. From there, I focused on how my fridge’s temperature and my room temperature affected things.  

The long and short of it is that by the end of day two, I’d jotted down ‘limp, slight browning’ next to all of my non-refrigerated beans—washed and unwashed—whereas at that point, every batch that remained in the fridge was visibly unchanged. It’s always also just worth keeping in mind that bacteria thrives in the room temperature range, so the visible deterioration in the kitchen heat wasn’t particularly surprising. For comparison, the next batches of green beans to show similar signs of decline were the ones washed and in the crisper; those began to turn on day four. 

Testing Humidity Levels

I stored all the beans a few ways: laid flat on a baking sheet totally open to air flow, stood up in deli containers (also exposed to airflow), sealed completely in plastic bags or airtight containers, and on a fridge shelf, in the crisper, and on the counter. Throughout the course of the experiment, all versions of the exposed beans aged similarly well. The sealed ones declined over the course of the week, exhibiting partial softness by day four. The washed and sealed ones in the fridge and crisper went fully wilty-bendy by day five; the unwashed ones sealed tightly maintained their integrity until days eight and nine (more on that in a bit!). Interestingly, none of the exposed beans ever went soft—they always felt like they’d fully, onamonapia-y *snap* if I did try to break them, probably up until day nine.    

Overhead view of green bean test
Serious Eats / Tess Koman

Is Washing Green Beans Ever a Good Idea?

Sure, yeah, they must be washed as you’d wash any produce you plan on consuming. And if you are planning on eating your green beans near-immediately, definitely go for it! But green beans, unlike, say, strawberries, are not prone to rotting quickly; their skins are thicker and the beans are thus more resistant to any  mold spores that happen to be on them. Just about everyone who’s written instructions on string bean storage says you shouldn’t wash these bad boys before you store them (and they always say to store them wholly intact and in the fridge). But I don’t trust anyone, nor is there much clarity out there about how washing green beans affects their shelf life, so I decided to run my own tests. 

I washed string beans in room-temperature (78°F) water and hot (120°F) tap water, and then left a control batch unwashed. Of the washed batches, I thoroughly dried some and left the rest with water clinging to them. I then divvied them up in sealed plastic bags, open to the air on trays or standing up in open deli containers, and both in the crisper and on a fridge shelf. On top of that, I ran tests in which some batches had lightly damp paper towels wrapped around the green beans and some that didn't. In all I had 16 batches of string beans to test all these variables.

Overhead view of green beans
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

I quickly learned that introducing moisture into the equation, whether by leaving the beans with washing water clinging to them or via a damp paper towel, was as detrimental to the beans as leaving them out to fend for themselves in the wild of my kitchen during—oops!—the most humid days I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime, let alone during the summer.

By day two, nearly every batch of green beans treated with water, regardless of whether they had been dried or how they had been stored, exhibited the beginning signs of exhaustion. See: puckering, light browning, wilt. None of them were beyond the point of salvaging until day four, when all of the cold water offerings were severely puckered, particularly the ones in the crisper. 

Anything unwashed in the crisper fared better through days six-through-eight, but everything outside the drawer just…looked better the whole time. It seemed pretty clear that washing beans and/or storing them in the vegetable crisper was too humid and, therefore, not the move.

In fact, the only batch of beans still standing (at least aesthetically) by day seven were all the unwashed beans on a middle fridge shelf. By day eight, the unwashed beans that were sealed tight and stored on the fridge shelf began to brown. I can’t exactly explain this particular downfall, but it's possible the sealed container simply trapped too much moisture from the beans as they slowly released it over time, which then became undesirable condensation that advanced spoilage.

On day 10, the last beans standing—those that were unwashed and kept exposed to airflow on the fridge shelf finally began to wrinkle, but don’t we all, at a certain point? Still, they remained bright green and mostly aged gracefully through their tips. I would’ve (and did) eat that batch on day 11, trimming the ends and cooking them as I would any other bean. I don’t know that I noticed any difference in taste at all from beans I’d eaten much more quickly in the past. 

How to Store Green Beans So They’ll Last Longest, Step-by-Step

TL;DR: You should not wash your string beans before you put them wholly intact in the fridge! If you’re curious about whether you should buy your beans pre-trimmed, or when you should trim them yourself, our editors have written about this previously and have strong feelings on both matters. Here is what you should do regardless:

  • Whenever possible, buy untrimmed beans.
  • Remove any already-brown or rotting single beans from the bunch.
  • Lay them directly on a paper towel–lined tray or place them upright in an open deli container.
  • Refrigerate.
  • Wash and trim immediately before eating.

How to Store Cherries

We tested pounds of cherries and determined getting your fruit in the fridge—and quickly—will automatically keep it fresh longer. If you skip washing and lay cherries out flat (rather than pile them on top of each other in a bag or container), you’ll see even better results.

Overhead view of cherries in a basket
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

One can, when strolling under a laden cherry tree, pick a couple of the dangly fruit and—assuming one has pierced ears—insert the stems through the piercings to create beautiful jewelry that also happens to be a handy method of storing the cherries for snacking later. One can. But that only nets you two cherries. As proud as I am of this innovative cherry-storage idea that you definitely will never see anywhere else, there's got to be a better way. My job was to find it. 

After testing all the major cherry-storage variables with pounds of sweet cherries and deeply probing the agricultural-science literature on the topic, I now have an answer that not only works for more than two cherries, but almost definitely ensures they'll last longer than the earrings idea I'd started with. Science is progress, folks, it really is. 

Storing Cherries: What's Our Goal and What to Test?

Cherries are the bright red fruits, always in a pair of two connected by beige pixelated stems, that Pac-Man gets to eat for a bonus of 100 points. Oh, sorry, wrong article. Let's reset: Cherries are an actual, living fruit in the Prunus family, cousin to peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots. Technically, they are a drupe, which is a word that makes them sound way less cool than they are. Better, then, to use the colloquial synonym: stone fruit.

While small by stone-fruit standards, cherries at their best are plump and juicy, with shiny skins and no visible bruising, splits, or rot. There are two main types of cherry, sweet and sour, and while my testing focused on sweet cherries, which are more commonly shipped when not in season locally and thus easier to find, I'm fairly confident that the tips here will be relevant to both varieties.

One thing that differentiates cherries from many of its other stone-fruit cousins is that it is considered a non-climacteric fruit, meaning it does not continue to ripen after being picked—the cherry you buy at the store or market is as good as it's going to get. This fact makes my cherry-storage job easier, since there's no need to try to optimize storage for ripening the way one does with something like a peach. Instead, the name of the game here is maximizing the cherry's existing quality over time. Put another way, we just need to find the best way to make them last.

How does one do that? Well, as mentioned above, you do two things. First is research, primarily reading up on the work food and agriculture scientists have already done on the topic, to better understand the major concerns and challenges identified by very smart people with a large financial interest in getting this whole shebang right. The second is to buy lots and lots of cherries and actually put all that wisdom to the test in a home setting, along with any other questions that may not be answered in the existing literature—after all, the cherry industry is most concerned with what happens from farm to point-of-purchase. Cherry-storage best-practices at home are not really their problem.

After doing my own reading and also applying a healthy dose of common sense, I narrowed down the variables I wanted to test to the following: pre-washing the fruit vs. not; cold vs. room-temperature storage; air-flow and container options; and stemming vs. not. Here are my results.

To Chill or Not to Chill?

It turns out cherries, summer darlings though they are, hate the heat. In fact, I couldn’t find a single source, reputable or otherwise, that told me cherries shouldn’t be cooled, and quickly. And not only is cold important, but how quickly and consistently you get and keep them cold. One cherry- storage study conducted for The Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology over the course of three years (!) determined that cooling cherries within 36 hours of harvest (and maintaining their coldness) directly correlated to the longest-lasting quality cherries. 

Three cherries left on the counter
Serious Eats / Tess Koman

As for the optimal temperature for cherry storage, opinions range, but not by much. The JHSB study IDs 0°C (32°F) as the best temperature for preservation; others point to a range of -.5°C–1°C (33–34°F) as the sweet spot. So I stuck a bunch of washed and unwashed cherries in my admittedly slightly warmer 1°–4°C (34°–39°F) fridge. I putzed around for about 35 hours and then stuck in a bunch more. I waited until that 40-hour mark hit and threw even more cherries in. And, just for funsies, I left a bunch of cherries in various states of cleanliness on my allegedly far-too-hot (read: room-temp) counter and kept them there forever.

As you may imagine, my warm kitchen-table fruit was the first to go. Just hours into the experiment, the beginnings of brown cherry sludge appeared at the bottom of each storage vessel. The next day, there were fully bruised cherries in each batch. Day three and we were down for the count, baby. Like, fully squished and gross and inedible. Day! Three! 

To Wash or Not To Wash?

We know from food-storage-testing experience that some types of produce benefit from a wash (hello strawberries!) before being stored while others don't (lookin' at you, peaches). Water, it turns out, can be one of a cherry’s least favorite elements. This study from Oregon State University demonstrated that excess water sitting on a cherry’s surface can penetrate its cuticle and cause those hardened cracks you likely don’t enjoy eating. But that's a study of cherries dealing with water exposure in the field, and we're looking at whether we should wash cherries at home—plus, at home we can dry them after washing. 

To that end, I experimented with washing cherries in both hot (49°C; 120°F) and room-temp (25°C; 77°F) water, then drying them completely in a paper towel–lined salad spinner before taking any next steps. I also left several batches unwashed as a control. All the cherries were then stored in 1) their original bagging, 2) a large, flat bowl, or 3) an airtight container.

Unwashed cherries
Serious Eats / Tess Koman

I only ever saw mold on cherries that had been washed. By day five, my cold water–washed cherries began to mold. By day six, my hot-water cherries began to mold as well. I did not see any mold on the unwashed cherries in that same time frame—in fact, I didn’t see mold on them at all.

Washed cherries
Serious Eats / Tess Koman

I don’t know why exactly rinsing the cherries with water induced rot the way it did, even when I did my best to dry them well after. It’s hard to believe a cherry is more at risk when exposed to water than a thinner-skinned strawberry is, but that seems to be the case. Is it possible that the level of drying required would have included individually blotting any hidden drops of water from each and every cherry? I…don’t regret not doing that, because who has the time or energy (more on that in a bit)?

The takeaway here seems clear: skip washing until you're ready to eat your cherries.

To Crowd or Not to Crowd?

Another largely agreed-upon belief in the world of cherries is that storing them piled on top of each other causes bruising. Bruised cherries can still be edible, but that flesh quickly decays into something much less appetizing. Plenty of things can cause bruising: transport damage, temperature, or packing.

My cherries were big, averaging 7.5 grams a pop. To test whether piling cherries on top of each other (or even just leaving them in the deep bags they're sometimes sold in) would harm them in the long run, I kept each batch in both heaped in the original packaging and laid out in a single layer in a bowl. 

Overall, all my laid-flat cherries fared better than the ones that were stored vertically. Not a single one of my flat cherries bruised—tens of my piled ones did, particularly ones at the bottom of the piles, beginning at day four. I still would’ve eaten them until day six 1) when just enough sticky cherry juice had accumulated at the bottom of each piled vessel to make me cringe and 2) the cherries were so soft they were oftentimes hard to actually grasp without slipping out of their skins and my fingers.

Again, I had no issues with slipperiness or large quantities of leakage with my flat cherries. That said, it’s not always possible to clear fridge space for anything, let alone a large receptacle holding a single layer of cherries. But if you can slide a plate onto a fridge shelf and line the whole thing with a single layer of cherries, you’re going to be able to keep those cherries for longer than if you stash them in the fridge in their original packaging. 

To Stem or Not to Stem? 

I was also interested in experimenting with moisture loss as it pertained to cherry stems. We've seen before with tomatoes that the stem end of the fruit can be a weak point in its longevity, since moisture can exit through the scar left behind by the stem faster than other parts of an otherwise healthy fruit. In the case of tomatoes, simply storing them stem side down is enough to keep moisture from exiting the fruit too quickly. Of course tomatoes don't usually come with the vine still attached, whereas cherries often do still have their stems, though not always.

Cherries stemmed and washed and unwashed
Serious Eats / Tess Koman

While the stem status of a bunch of cherries is not something that's easy to control as a shopper, nor would I suggest anyone go to the trouble of lining up all their individual stemless cherries stem side down, I still wanted to know—does the presence or absence of the stem matter? To find out, I stemmed a portion of my cherries and weighed them over the course of several days, comparing the results to a control batch that still had their stems. Within a three-to-five–day period, I watched as the stemmed cherries withered and softened while the stem-on ones remained robust, a clear indicator that cherries without their stems are much less likely to be long-lived.

What's the practical application of this? Well, for one thing: Keep! Stems! On! Cherries! At! All! Costs!! But is anyone really nuts enough to stand around pre-stemming cherries before putting them in the fridge? I suspect (hope?) not. So, more realistically, what this means is that when shopping, try your best to get cherries that still have their stems attached if at all possible.

How to Store Cherries So They’ll Last Longest, Step by Step

The long and short of it is that cherries can be kept glorious for about eight or nine days if you get them in the fridge quickly after shopping. From there, you can certainly leave them in their original packaging for a good week, but the extra effort of laying them out flat should eke you out an extra two days or so. Regardless, you should not attempt to clean your cherries before you get them in the fridge. Cold and dry is the name of the game here.

  • Try to buy stem-on cherries.
  • Keep your berries out of the heat as much as possible on the way home.
  • Remove any decaying or cracked cherries from the bunch.
  • Put them in a bowl large enough to lay them a single layer as best you can. Leave the bowl uncovered.
  • Place the bowl in the fridge and close that fridge door ASAP.

We Taste-Tested 10 Supermarket Vanilla Ice Creams—Here Are Our Favorites

The SE team pulled together 10 brands of vanilla ice cream you’re likely to find in your local supermarket and methodically, empirically, scientifically! tasted its way through them all in a quest to identify the very best.

Ten pints of vanilla ice cream collaged together.
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

I don’t have to get into why exactly good vanilla ice cream is crucial, do I? Do you need me to walk you through the merits of a mid-summer a la mode moment? The pleasures of a singular snowy scoop when everything else feels beyond your control? The visceral joy that—no. No, you don’t! Vanilla ice cream is universally beloved and widely understood to be crucial to our shared experience as a species.

So why did we have such a hard time finding one we all enjoyed at the supermarket?

In classic SE fashion, this team pulled together 10 brands of vanilla ice cream you're likely to find in your local supermarket and methodically, empirically, scientifically! tasted its way through them all in a quest to identify the very best. We went in thinking we all loved vanilla ice cream. We all left reeling, having eaten our way through 1) chunks of ice, 2) kids-birthday-party-cake-ish bites (the good kind, mostly), and 3) so much vanilla bean we felt gritty.  This one was hard, y’all. There were very clear winners and very clear…not winners. 

Let’s get into it.

Serious Eats editors eating vanilla ice cream.
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Contenders

  • Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla 
  • Friendly’s Vanilla
  • Edy’s Vanilla
  • Heritage Kulfi Vanilla Bean
  • Turkey Hill Original Vanilla
  • Breyers Natural Vanilla
  • Avenue A Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Ample Hills Just Vanilla, Please
  • Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Van Leeuwen Vanilla Bean French Ice Cream

The Criteria

As previously mentioned, vanilla ice cream is a gorgeous, simple pleasure and should be judged as such. We! want! simplicity!: a smooth, thick, lightly chewy, very creamy, minimally aerated base that scoops easily, a Real Vanilla taste (how that taste gets there is less important, but, sure, yeah, vanilla bean specks are nice), and no grease on the finish. A nearly finished bowl of truly good vanilla ice cream, if you ask us, should eat like a thin, chilled soup: You should be able to scrape every last bit off the bottom without feeling like you're drinking it. Oh! And please, god, no ice.

To measure all the above, we all ate from 10 scoops of ice cream—first plain, and then with sprinkles. The solo scoops allowed for the best gauge of color and standalone sweetness; the addition of sprinkles helped us contrast textures.

The Rankings

Ben & Jerry’s: 3.56/5

Unanimously “oh, this eats correctly” from the group from bite one. It was thick, it was sweet, held its own to sprinkles, it could’ve beautifully gone atop anything else we’d had floating around that kitchen. It also was the only one that smelled exactly the right amount—the warm, happy vanilla aroma hit your nose just before the cold, happy vanilla ice cream hit your mouth. Vibes, but make it ice cream. 

Häagen-Dazs: 3.08/5

This staff’s emotional connection to Häagen-Dazs should be clear by now: We are stans, we eat it regularly in our personal lives, we expect nothing but the best when we open a pint. We got pretty much that here. Everyone enjoyed the body of the ice cream: it didn’t melt nearly as quickly as most others, and there was a distinct creaminess to it that we found nowhere else. Jake just tanked this one because he didn’t think it smelled as heavily and pleasantly of vanilla as others in the tasting did. 

Van Leeuwen: 2.92/5

Interestingly, both Yasmine and Genevieve noted that Van Leeuwen’s take tasted to them “how vanilla ice cream is supposed to taste,” but they both phrased it as a question (“how vanilla ice cream is…supposed to taste?”). This scoop had a great, gentle chew and was very calming to look at and less aromatics to the face than the top two contenders. I’d paint nursery walls with this stuff and raise a very serene baby from that room, I’m sure. 

Friendly’s: 2.44/5

I, a lifelong Fribble stan, would recuse myself from this one, but there’s no need. Three out of five testers immediately felt transported to eating ice cream cake at a camp friend’s birthday party. The other two passingly enjoyed a vaguely vanilla, urgently melty dairy experience. 

Breyers: 2.3/5 

From here on out, these selections will fall into one or both of the following categories: “air” and/or “ice.” Breyer’s began us on an airy journey, one that went so quickly you barely realized you’d dipped a spoon into anything! Listen, the stuff is so fun to eat—it just doesn’t feel like you’re eating too much of anything. Sprinkle mountain highly recommended here. Who wouldn’t like a pile of vanilla-slicked-and-scented sprinkles at the tail-end of a meal? Oh, and wait!! It looks like Cookies & Cream? Not a con, but unnerving in this context all the same. 

Avenue A: 2.18/5

More air! “Light” and “fluffy” appeared a few times across our collective notes. But the aeration felt more significant than Breyers’ and the smell skewed more artificial. My immediate reaction was to compare it to Cool Whip. I actually don’t know that I’d be able to tell the two apart.   

Heritage Kulfi: 2.12/5

Et voila: the ice! Chewing was audible, flavor was mild. The combination of those two things detracted from a pretty-as-a-picture scoop we all felt optimistic at first glance. Of course, this ice cream didn’t melt nearly as quickly—it held its own 10+ minutes past nine other pints’ transformation into puddles. Kulfi for the hottest summer days, perhaps!

Turkey Hill: 2.1/5 

Turkey Hill’s ice cream smelled so nice. We all wanted it to be a perfect-accompaniment-to-pie-type scoop, but it melted so quickly that it never stood a chance. Genevieve also noted a distinct greasiness to the bite, despite enjoying the aroma so much. Even so, it didn’t taste bad! 

Ample Hills: 2.08/5 

OK, Ample Hills was neither airy nor icy, but it also…did not taste like vanilla ice cream? To any of us? I wrote: “Almond??” Jake wrote: “Malt??” Yasmine wrote “Amaretto?” Daniel wrote: “No. What is this??”

Edy’s: 2.06/5 

Big extract energy. That’s all!

Our Tasting Methodology

All taste tests are conducted completely blind and without discussion. Tasters taste samples in random order. For example, taster A may taste sample 1 first, while taster B will taste sample 6 first. This is to prevent palate fatigue from unfairly giving any one sample an advantage. Tasters are asked to fill out tasting sheets ranking the samples for various criteria that vary from sample to sample. All data is tabulated and results are calculated with no editorial input in order to give us the most impartial representation of actual results possible.

We Taste-Tested 8 Cheddar Cheeses on Cheeseburgers—Here Are Our Favorites

The SE team pulled together eight brands of cheddar cheese slices you’re likely to find in your local supermarket and methodically, empirically, scientifically! tasted its way through them all in a quest to identify the very best one to put atop all your forthcoming cheeseburgers.

A pile of cheeses on a checkered backdrop
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The prompt for this taste test sparked wild debate across our team, particularly around what cheese belongs on burgers to begin with. After two hours (!) of back and forth (we are nothing here at Serious Eats if not unfailingly thorough), we…didn’t even reach a consensus. How could we have slept soundly that night knowing we’d declared American cheese—the gummy-but-meltier option—correct? How could we have shown our faces in the kitchens the next day had we instead ratified cheddar—the objectively better-tasting but inferior-melting selection—as the winner?

So we didn’t. But because Kenji did this exercise with American cheese quite some time ago and because we all just wanted to eat a fair amount of cheese, we went the cheddar route. Little did we know, it wouldn’t be an entirely American cheese-less day. 

Gif of cheddar cheese taste test
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

You know the shtick: The SE team has pulled together eight brands of cheddar cheese slices you're likely to find in your local supermarket and methodically, empirically, scientifically! tasted its way through them all in a quest to identify the very best one to put atop all your forthcoming cheeseburgers. We had a blast! We needed to take a few deep breaths and a few long walks! We all took a lot of grease-tinged pictures of piles of cheese!

(I have no skin in this game; I love cheeseburgers, but I sat in the corner taking meticulous reaction notes and enjoying three slices of what ultimately became Genevieve’s strawberry rhubarb pie. Enjoy!)

The Contenders

  • Stop & Shop Sharp Cheddar
  • KRAFT Singles Sharp Cheddar
  • Boar’s Head Vermont Cheddar
  • Sargento Cheddar (Creamery)
  • Tillamook Sharp Cheddar
  • Cracker Barrel Wisconsin Extra Sharp Yellow Cheddar
  • 365 Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Applegate Organics Cheddar Cheese

The Criteria

Cheddar cheese for cheeseburgers needs to be tangy and sharp. Like, sharp and distinct enough that you could eat it as a standalone snack without having to wonder what you just ate. It should also be just salty enough that once you’re done with said snack, you shouldn’t immediately need water—you should just kinda want a few sips. 

Cheese on a sheet tray
Serious Eats

The addition of heat should not mitigate the integrity or flavor of the cheese (see: slices should converge to evenly coat the patty; it should not create any kind of sideways cheese drippings that require you to remove a hand from your burger to catch or clean). Proper meltability also means there are no non-melted sections of the slice that eat dryly. Mid-slice stretch is important, too! A few bites per burger should yield a fine, thin string of cheese that breaks gently of its own accord. Finally, there shouldn’t be much slick cheese grease. Grease is best as a patty’s thing! We added two slices of each cheese to each burger for the best gauging of flavor and meltability. 

…And while we didn’t ultimately include a criteria for color, we just for funsies verbally agreed that orange cheddar felt more correct in this context.

The Rankings

Tillamook Sharp Cheddar (3.5/5)

The only cheese among the contenders to be unanimously described as having a “distinct cheddar flavor.” Some called it “nice,” others called it “very nice,” one called it “really nice,” and so on and so forth. In fact, Daniel declared, if flavor is most important to you when choosing a cheddar for cheeseburgers, Tillamook’s should be your top choice. Jake whooped when he learned it’d been his top pick. He is to Tillamook cheddar as Genevieve is to Häagen-Dazs strawberry ice cream, I suppose.

KRAFT Singles Sharp Cheddar (3.5/5)

Listen. Just listen! These slices sat there and took endless admonishment from the team before a single member had even taken a bite. “Psh,” they scoffed. “We know exactly what this is,” they huffed. “OBVIOUSLY KRAFT AMERICAN CHEESE SINGLES,” they pooh-poohed. They then promptly gave the stuff near-top numbers for both flavor and meltability. They took note of the glorious, thick coating and its unequivocal nostalgic yumminess when paired with meat, all while attempting to disqualify the cheese’s participation in the ranking because they were so convinced it really was an American cheese entry snuck in. Maybe it was? (It’s not quite, but it’s not not. KRAFT cheddar goes a little heavier on whey and has fewer preservatives than its American counterpart childhood dream-stuff does. Daniel says this doesn’t matter.) Regardless, ya know, if color or congealment over time had been a consideration, you’d be reading a different set of rankings. 

Sargento Cheddar (Creamery) (3.4/5)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the rest of Daniel’s top-pick thoughts: “If flavor is most important to you, [choose Tillamook]. If melting is your priority,” he continued, "[Sargento] is the pick.” That thinking was consistent across the whole team. Yasmine, who gave no fives anywhere else (...except in her KRAFT meltability score) gave them across the board here, noting the all-encompassing melt two Sargento slices gave was “perfect for cheeseburgers.” Alas, there was no tang to be detected here—the cheddar flavor was lovely but far from potent.

Cracker Barrel Wisconsin Extra Sharp Yellow Cheddar (3.25/5)

Would you expect anything less than a bold and salty, salty, salty entry from Cracker Barrel? In fact, the salt level is what knocked this entry out of the top three. Everyone deeply enjoyed this, especially in the context of a burger topping. Genevieve explained “this tasted like cheese. Like, Velveeta-y?” But nobody enjoyed how they felt after they ate it. If you’re a human who craves the salinity of cheese more than you do its participation in a larger meal, this is the move.

Stop & Shop Sharp Cheddar (3/5)

Again, unanimous feedback. Great meltability! Near top-tier! It “blanketed” the burger, wrote Jake. Flavor, though? Slightly lacking. Or, as Yasmine so perfectly encapsulated, “not very cheddar.”  

Applegate Organics Cheddar Cheese (3/5)

I now understand there to be a point in every taste test where the tides begin to turn…and for this undertaking, Applegate is where the SE team began to sense a change in the winds. Just like Stop & Shop’s cheddar, people were happy with the slices’ initial spreadability when the burgers were hot. Upon closer inspection and after a few minutes had passed, however, a few tasters noted a stiffness to the cheese that wasn’t exactly tempting. The flavor was fine! 

Boar’s Head Vermont Cheddar (3/5)

Like its competitors in this range, it melted decently, but this was probably the only contender that tasted more “what kind of cheese is this?” than a recognizable cheddar, so it lost points for sharpness ( be fair, this is not a sharp cheddar). TL;DR: When melted onto a burger, Boar’s Head cheddar gave us a burger with cheese and not a cheeseburger. You get it, yeah?

365 Sharp Cheddar Cheese (2.4/5)

It brings me no joy to write “plasticky” anywhere in the body of a cheese-related article, but here we are. The Whole Foods brand started as a good time! The slices were thick, the color was a bright bell pepper-type orange, it smelled like all the other cheddars. And then we applied heat, it got translucent and greasy and…plasticky. Three of four tasters went back for second bites, but all those second bites did was cement this cheese as very much not their favorite. They may have all just been so full from crushing KRAFT singles by this point though, idk idk.

Our Tasting Methodology

All taste tests are conducted completely blind and without discussion. Tasters taste samples in random order. For example, taster A may taste sample 1 first, while taster B will taste sample 6 first. This is to prevent palate fatigue from unfairly giving any one sample an advantage. Tasters are asked to fill out tasting sheets ranking the samples for various criteria that vary from sample to sample. All data is tabulated and results are calculated with no editorial input in order to give us the most impartial representation of actual results possible.

We Taste-Tested 8 Supermarket Strawberry Ice Creams—Here Are Our Favorites

The SE team has pulled together eight brands of strawberry ice cream you’re likely to find in your local supermarket (everything from Häagen-Dazs to Edy’s) and methodically, empirically, scientifically! tasted its way through them all in a quest for the best.

Collage of strawberry ice creams tested

I have worked at this site for some time now and have yet to actually publish a story. Why? My coworkers are brilliant culinary minds, titans of food science content industry, rigorous recipe developers, glorious food nerds to the nth degree; I am a retired theme park food critic who spends a lot of time online. And because Daniel says I must tamp down the insecurity in this lede, I’ll allow that there are many things I am well cut out for as the senior editorial director of Serious Eats…being one of the resident cooking experts is simply just not one of them.

My lack of technical proficiency with a knife will never not make me feel like the odd one out, but when we decided to relaunch product taste tests on the site for the first time in many years, I felt the playing field level beneath my feet. I creaked open the parts of me that’d long been shuttered: the ones that allowed me to crush through five-to-40 versions of a single food over the course of mere minutes and write about them in a way that helped people taste them too.

And I volunteered to handle this.

Collage and test header for taste test

So here we are! The SE team has pulled together eight brands of strawberry ice cream you're likely to find in your local supermarket and methodically, empirically, scientifically! tasted its way through them all in a quest to identify the very best. And we loved every minute of doing it! Strawberry ice cream is a near-staff-wide favorite, enough so that we are all familiar with the brands in each others’ freezers, aware of all nightly banana split habits (and what exactly comprises each version), and Slacking about our very specific strawberry-meets-dairy cravings at least once a week.

Without further adieu: go-to strawberry ice creams and all their highlights and pitfalls. 

Look, Ma! I’m bylined, etc. etc.

The Contenders

  • Avenue A
  • Van Leeuwen 
  • Häagen-Dazs
  • Turkey Hill
  • Tillamook
  • Breyer’s
  • Stop & Shop
  • Edy’s

The Criteria

At the risk of stating the obvious, superlative strawberry ice cream should taste like the frozen form of that classic pairing of strawberries and cream, with a ripe, jammy, and slightly tart red-berry flavor bathed in rich and subtly sweet dairy. The ice cream base should be infused with the flavor of strawberry and, if there are chunks of strawberry in the mix, they should be more tender than overtly icy. In short, it should taste of summer.

Collage of strawberry ice creams tested

While sweet, strawberry ice cream should not be cloyingly so, as the flavor should be of natural ripe berries and not the artificial flavor of strawberry candies nor, worse, red medicine. All this to say: We evaluated each take on its aroma, texture, mix-in texture, and flavor. We exclusively ate it plain because we believe strawberry ice cream can and should be able to be eaten solo as a satisfying conclusion to just about any meal.

The Rankings

Häagen-Dazs: 3.8/5

A winner absolutely no one was surprised about. In fact, Genevieve mentioned pre-tasting that if Haagen-Dazs didn’t turn out to be her preferred brand, she’d have "an identity crisis of gigantic proportions." Most tasters drew comparisons to their other favorite strawberry-and-cream combos (see: yogurts, milkshakes, shortcake), celebrating its gentle creaminess and consistent smoothness they didn’t find in too many other brands in this taste test. There was one stick (...sprinkle?) in the mud (.....pint?) who called his whole Haagen-Dazs-tasting experience "very OK," but exclamation points on everyone else’s tasting notes outnumbered other flavors’ notes 4:1. 

Van Leeuwen: 3.2/5

Two common denominators across most feedback here: a crisp and pleasant tartness that recalled good-quality frozen yogurt (turns out strawberry ice cream should smell like kefir and strawberry preserves!) and a strawberry chunk-to-cream ratio. It was also one of very few ice creams with a detectable fruity aroma. Also, it’s pretty. Red speckles, jammy dust trails, pinched-cheek pink. Dreamy!   

Turkey Hill: 2.9/5 

Turkey Hill tasted the most stabilizer-heavy of our top picks; the panel found it to be well-aerated, the slightest bit stretchy, and just creamy enough. Most would’ve liked a bigger hit of strawberry flavor in the ice cream itself—the large chunks of strawberry woven throughout were doing most of the legwork there. One editor was spotted pushing hearty, icy strawberries to the side of the bowl with their spoon for later as a lil post-testing snack. I will not ask Turkey Hill for a cut when they come out with freeze-dried berry snacks, but I will take full credit for the idea when they do. 

Breyers: 2.56/5

Another chunk-heavy contender, Breyer’s take on strawberry did a better job with marrying chunk size and chunk placement. That said, this is where we began tiptoeing over the line of ‘strawberry ice cream’ into ‘well-intentioned vanilla ice cream experiments with fruit’ territory. A scoop of Breyers strawberry as the a-la-mode component of some other dessert? Absolutely. Unaccompanied scoops of Breyers on a late summer afternoon when you’ve got a very specific craving for strawberry ice cream? Eh!

Stop & Shop: 2.56/5

Nobody didn’t like this quart (the only one that can be said for!). It ranked moderately well for flavor, aroma, and texture. It also, however, provided a very inconsistent mix-in experience. I noted "unmanageable" chunks and Genevieve got "strawberry candy"–-like bites. Jake and Yasmine, on the other hand, called their samples "essentially absent of mix-ins" and "pretty smooth," respectively. My bite made me hesitant to take more; Jake’s made him want to keep going in search of something other than the dairy base. We’re not mad! We’re just confused!

Tillamook: 2.5/5

We all appreciated the body here—it was creamy, it scooped cleanly, and it sat well. That said, the flavor drew comparison to "sweet milk," cereal-bowl dregs, the last few bites of a fruit salad your aunt put in a bowl that shouldn’t ever hold that much watery health in one place. It was so very sweet!

Edy’s: 2.5/5

Alright! OK! It collapsed on all of us within seconds, leaving saccharine foamy pink soup in its wake. There is a time and a place for sweetsweetsweet foamy pink soup, like, say at the end of a long amusement park day or…after a tonsil removal, maybe? But an ice cream taste test in which editors are analytically watching their spoons cut into their scoops is not necessarily one of them. Points for nostalgia, though—at least three editors knew exactly what they were eating the moment they bit.  

Avenue A: 1.5/5

The color of our ice creams hadn’t even been a discussion until this point. In fact, when determining the criteria, we decided to leave a color category off our score sheets. And then we met Avenue A strawberry ice cream. A few verbatim notes on how we ate this with our eyes: "Inexcusable." "Pepto? Tums berry flavor?" "Horrifying." As for texture? "Very light and pillowy," "nothing!" "Gummy," and more. Anyway, it smelled nice!

Our Tasting Methodology

All taste tests are conducted completely blind and without discussion. Tasters taste samples in random order. For example, taster A may taste sample 1 first, while taster B will taste sample 6 first. This is to prevent palate fatigue from unfairly giving any one sample an advantage. Tasters are asked to fill out tasting sheets ranking the samples for various criteria that vary from sample to sample. All data is tabulated and results are calculated with no editorial input in order to give us the most impartial representation of actual results possible.