Strawberries are actually a member of the rose family; these plump, flame-red, succulent berries are heart shaped with tiny edible seeds, green leaves and short to long stems.
Strawberries are the world’s most popular berry. The average strawberry has about 200 seeds. The strawberry is low in fat and calories, but is high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants. They are a nutritional jewel! One serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than oranges. Being heart shaped, the strawberries are also packed with nutrients that promote a healthy heart!
Choose plump, firm, deep-colored strawberries, with bright green caps and no signs of mold or soft spots. Store strawberries in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Wash and hull strawberries just before using them.
Storing and Preserving Strawberries:
The best way to eat a strawberry is fresh out of hand. Fresh strawberries are highly perishable and delicate. If not using immediately, remove the berries from their containers, arrange in a single layer in a shallow pan, loosely cover, and refrigerate. Use fresh berries within one to two days for best quality. Wash strawberries gently in cold water just before you are ready to use them as the washing action removes their natural protective outer layer.
To freeze berries, simply lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to freezer bags and place back into the freezer. It is not necessary to add any sugar!
Strawberry Historical Facts:
Strawberries are thought to have been cultivated in ancient Rome. The strawberry, as we know it, was originally grown in northern Europe, but species are also found in Russia, Chile, Canada, and the United States.
The berries seem to be strewn among the leaves of the plant, so it received the word strewberry. Later on, farmers brought them to market on beds of straw, so their name was changed to strawberry.
In France, strawberries were cultivated in the 13th Century for use as a medicinal herb. Historical Medicinal Uses of Fragaria Vesca (Alpine Strawberry): It is said that the leaves, roots and fruits of this variety of strawberry were used for a digestive or skin tonic. Internally, the berry was used for diarrhea and digestive upset, while the leaves and the roots were used for gout. Externally, it was used for sunburn and skin blemishes, and the fruit juice was used for discolored teeth.
The first American species of strawberries was cultivated about 1835. The first important American variety, the Hoveg, was grown in 1834, in Massachusetts. The hybrid variety was developed in France.