Monday, June 7, 2010

Wild Strawberries - Red Ambrosia

Have you had any wild strawberries yet?

I picked some tonight and shared with my children. Mmmmm...nothing like them. Strawberries are something that "bigger is not always better" definitely applies to. The wild strawberry has so much favor and sweetness packed into that tiny red berry. Those red behemoths that you find on your grocer's shelves so pale in comparison in every way save the size.

Home-grown strawberries are better than the usual supermarket fare so if you don't have access to wild strawberries (which many don't) or your own strawberry patch, find homegrown strawberries at your local farmers' market or a U-pick farm. And I do recommend picking your own. There's nothing like harvesting your own food - whether it be wild grown or cultivated. And share the experience with the young ones in your life. Teach them about growing and harvesting food. Their life will be richer for it.

A few sweet facts about strawberries.....
  • One of the ceremonies of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) ceremonial year celebrates the strawberry
  • The strawberry is not a berry at all. It is an Accessory fruit
  • The cultivated garden strawberry is a cross between 2 New World strawberry species
  • Strawberry leaves make a nice tea
  • The strawberry is a member of the Rose family
  • The strawberry is the only fruit to have its seeds on the outside
  • Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States and every province in Canada
  • The US is the top producer of strawberries in the World
  • Strawberries have 9 vitamins & minerals (Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin A) and their leaves Vitamins C and K.
  • 94% of US households consume strawberries 
  • The strawberry is recognized as representing absolute perfection in the Victorian language of flowers
  •  Strawberries have a very short season - approximately 2 weeks near the Summer Solstice
  • The wild strawberry was the first plant to colonize the rim of Mount St. Helens after its 1980 eruption
  • The strawberry is of the genus Fragaria. The word, 'fragaria' comes from the Latin word meaning fragrant
  • The strawberry plant was used medicinally in Europe and by the Native peoples of North America 
So go pick a few strawberries. And if you want them the way I like them best (other than fresh out of hand!) is to simply slice them and serve them over good vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!


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