Strawberries, spring’s super fruit

Published 9:33 am Monday, April 15, 2013

Now, warm has arrived and soon so will one of my favorite fruits…strawberries.

Strawberries belong to the genus “Fragraria” from the rose family, along with raspberries, apples and plums, and is the first fruit to ripen in spring. Strawberries aren’t actually true berries like blueberries and cranberries, because they carry their seeds on the outside (about 200 seeds per berry).

There are more than 600 varieties of strawberries, and some can be white or yellow in color, and some can even taste like pineapple. The word strawberry comes from the Old English words “streoberie” or “streawbelige.”

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No one is really sure how they got their name though. Some believe the word straw came from the straw used to cover the plants, while others believe they were named in the 19th-century by English children who picked the fruit, strung them on grass straws and sold them as “straws of berries.”

Eighty-three percent of all strawberries produced in the U.S. come from California (approximately 24,500 acres). Florida is second with about 5,000 commercial acres. Strawberries are so delicate they must be picked by hand, and picked every three days.

That’s the time needed for the berries to complete their cycle of turning from green to white to red. They can’t be stored either, so after picking, they’re rushed to coolers where huge fans extract heat, then the berries are delivered to stores across the country via refrigerated trucks.

Each year roughly 27,000 kilos of strawberries (by the way, that’s over 59,000 pounds) are eaten during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships together with 7,000 liters of cream. Now let’s explore some health benefits derived from this wonderful fruit.