Taste Test: strawberries

Thanks to their convenient location, low prices and price matching policy, we do the bulk of our grocery shopping at Walmart.  Also, I find that I do way less impulse shopping at Walmart than any other store.  We buy our beef and pork in bulk from Fareway, a regional chain that has a great butcher counter and will cut (and package) whole loins however we want, but we even get our chicken from Walmart.  Family-raised, thankyouvery much.   Anyway.  

I think their produce has improved quite a bit over the past few years, and I’m generally pleased with the quality.  Every once in a while they are out of a particular item I’m looking for, but I recently tried to buy those zigzaggy carrot chips at a HyVee in Iowa and they didn’t know what I was talking about, so.

I was in Whole Foods the other day looking for some peppermint oil for our spider issue, and they had organic strawberries on sale.  I don’t buy organic products often, and very rarely on purpose.  (For instance – the shape of the container of Walmart’s organic spinach fits in our refrigerator better than conventional.  It’s not that much more expensive, so I buy it.  I don’t care that it’s organic; I care about its packaging.)  The actual health benefits of organic food are disputed, but I wondered about the taste. I had just bought a pint of Walmart berries, but I wanted to try them.  Would I prefer the taste of an on-sale organic Whole Foods strawberry to a price-matched Walmart strawberry?

Strawberries: Organic vs Walmart

I started my little test by selecting one strawberry from each container that looked to be about the same shape, size and color.  Each strawberry was firm to the touch but not hard – just the way a berry should be in my mind.  (Both packages were free from any molded or overly bruised or mushy berries.)  I gently washed the berries in tap water and dried them with a dish towel.

berry-2

Right away I noticed that the leaves of Left Berry were a deeper green color and slightly crunched, while Right Berry’s leaves had some spots on them.  The berry still looked fine, so I wasn’t concerned.

berry-3

Right Berry’s seeds were spaced closer together at the bottom, while Left Berry’s were uniformly spaced throughout.  I had no idea if this meant anything or not.

berry-4

Next step: cut the berries open.  Right Berry is clearly a little less ripe than Left Berry despite their nearly-matching exterior colors.  They both had a fresh strawberry scent.

berry-5

They had fairly comparable textures and both had that fresh, juicy strawberry taste I love.  Left Berry (unsurprisingly) tasted more ripe than Right Berry, but RB definitely wasn’t unpleasant. I would have no complaints if Right Berry showed up on a bowl of ice cream.  Or all of the berries, really.

Final Verdict?  Different but equal.  Different seed distribution, different leaf imperfections, different ripeness, but equal deliciousness as strawberries.

I was kind of surprised.  I honestly expected to be able to tell a difference.  Can you guess which is which?

Left Berry:  Walmart, $.99 for 16 oz (price matched from Aldi).    Right Berry:  Whole Foods, on sale for $1.99 for 16 oz.

Note:  This is not a sponsored post, just this girl’s opinions.  However, if they wanted to pay me, I wouldn’t say no.  I’d just tell you about it.

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