Food and Beverage

Rediscovering: Strawberries

Strawberries are one of those quintessential summer fruits. Garden strawberries are the most common and was first bred in Brittany, France in 1740.

There are approximately 600 varieties of strawberries. The strawberry is a part of the rose family like the apple and the plum. All the varieties stem from 5 to 6 wild varieties. To gauge how intense the flavor will be, remember, large berries contain more water. Smaller berries are more intense in flavor. Want the best flavored berries? Nothing will beat the flavor of strawberries picked fresh from your garden! The strawberry has about 200 seeds per berry. Wild strawberries are all typically small. It wasn’t until the 18th century that breeding bigger berries began. Strawberries were once used to brush teeth (and this still works) as the juice brightens discolored teeth.

The Love Fruit

This fascinating hot weather fruit has an interesting trivia, history and lore. Legend has several stories retelling the tale of where strawberries got their name: 19th century English legend is that they were named from the berries children used to pick and place on grass straws and sold them as ‘straws of berries”.  Another legend based on a growing practice still used today, where berries are grown on raised beds of straw surrounding the plant to protect it. The most commonly believed legend is that strawberries were named for how they grow on the plant, looking all strewn about and the name ‘strewn berry’ evolved into ‘strawberry’.

The Ornamental Fruit

There is an ornamental value to the strawberry. The English and the French loved these heart-shaped berries and used them to decorate their gardens. In France, Charles V, had 1200 strawberry plants in the Royal Gardens of the Louvre. The Provincial French used the strawberry at wedding breakfasts, serving a traditional newlywed soup of thinned strawberries in cream with borage and powdered sugar. Whether it is to celebrate love at a wedding or just for the love of this beautiful summer fruit, enjoy this descendant of the rose family and have it grace your table more often this season!

DISCOVER Strawberry Growing Guide
 VIDEOS How to Plant Strawberries
 BOOKS Grow the Best Strawberries: Storey Country Wisdom

 

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