Strawberries - A berry fruit which is a member of the rose family
Botanical Name: Fragaria x ananassa (Rosaceae)
- Red/pink, very thin skin
- White/pink/red flesh which is soft and succulent
- Small seeds cover the outer surface of the skin
- A green leafy cap (calyx) at the stem end
- Sweet, delicate flavour
A herbaceous perennial (a plant which continues growth from year to year). The main stem is short and called the crown. The crown produces runners up to about 1.5m in length.
Fresh strawberries should be clean, bright, and have a solid red colour. The green caps of the berries should be attached and the fruit should not look white, blemished, crushed, moist or overripe.
Strawberries are beautiful when eaten as a fresh fruit served with cream or ice cream. They can be incorporated into a wide range of fresh fruit and savoury salads, pancakes, cheesecakes, pavlovas, tarts and with shortbread. Wonderful as a garnish on cheese and fruit platters. Ideal for preserving in jams, conserves and sauces.
Winter chill is required to break dormancy. A reliable supply of water for irrigation is essential, particularly for crops grown on light textured soils which dry out quickly in the spring. Strawberry runners of high quality and free from disease are planted commercially in southeast Queensland during the first week of March and this process continues for a further 3 - 4 weeks. A large proportion of the crops are planted by mechanical means. Strawberries grow best on a sunny site.
A member of the Rose family. Wild strawberries have been eaten for many centuries, but it was not until the Middle Ages that they were cultivated in gardens to produce larger fruit.
The ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed strawberries and named them fraga, a tribute to their sweet flavour. This tradition was carried through by both the French who refer to them as fraises and the Spanish who call them fresa. It was in 1714 that a French Naval Officer found a large fruiting species in Chile while on duty there and resumed with them to France. These were cross-pollinated with another species and this started the development of the modem large fruiting strawberry. The first recorded use of the name strawberry was in the writings of the English botanist, Turner in 1538. It is believed the word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word streawberige, which describes the plant as “strewn or strewn” over the ground, depicting the runners.
No doubt because of their popularity, strawberries both benefited and suffered from the myths about their powers. In a positive sense, they were thought to cure certain ailments such as jaundice and other liver problems, whilst some people held superstitions that the eating of strawberries could cause weak people to become seriously ill.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C with 100g providing approximately twice the daily recommended allowance. They are also a good source of folic acid and dietary fibre. 85kJ/100g.