Morgane’s blog about Strawberries
A little history…
Humans have known strawberries since pretty much forever, wild strawberries of course – But it is only at the end of the 16th century that plants were introduced in Europe by America’s explorers, such as Jacques Cartier.
Throughout antiquity, strawberries have seen many different uses other than as a food source. For example, it was used as a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shape and red colour. The ancient Romans believed that strawberries had great medicinal value; they used it to reduce the symptoms of varied maladies, from simple melancholy to kidney stones.
The strawberries species we know today are actually hybrid species – this hybridisation is the union of two species of strawberries native to America – union that gave us our garden strawberries.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that is important for the immune system and skin health. They have been used throughout history in a medicinal context to help with teeth whitening, skin irritation, inflammation and heart disease. Their fibre and fructose content also help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion, and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect.
Did you know? Strawberry is actually not a fruit. The visible yellow “seeds” that dot the surface of the strawberry are achenes. Achenes are actually the fruits of strawberries plants.
How to store strawberries
The trick is to keep strawberries cold and dry so they won’t go mouldy.
For keeping a short time: arrange the strawberries – without washing or removing the stems on a paper towel-lined tray and cover with plastic wrap; then refrigerate.
Before eating or using them, wash the strawberries under cool water and then remove stems.
For a longer time; if you want to freeze your strawberries for smoothies or cakes, place rinsed, dried and stemmed whole strawberries, cut sides down, on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray;
Freeze, uncovered, for six hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag. You can store them in the freezer for up to three months.
Foods that pair with strawberries
Strawberries can be used with many different things. They may be eaten whole, sliced or crushed. Strawberries are an excellent addition to fruits salads, ice cream and sorbets. Perfect for summer! When strawberries are overly ripe they can also be used in pies, mousses, smoothies, puddings and cakes! Strawberries pair perfectly either with a bit of sugar, vanilla ice cream or with whipped cream! My favourite way to eat strawberries is with some whipped cream and melted chocolate on top of it!
But strawberries can also be used for savoury recipes -of course! In salads, appetisers, or even with chicken or fish!
You can actually find some very interesting strawberries recipes on the BBC Good Food site (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/strawberry) – from the good old strawberry jam to a strawberry and white chocolate mousse cake!