Celebrate Sweet Strawberries | L’Orenta Nuts
Were you this kid who accepted to eat fruits only if they were strawberries? Did you like compotes and yogurts, but only if they were strawberries flavored? We were this kid too and we still count strawberries as one of our favorite fruits!
Strawberries are a member of the rose family. The most common variety is a hybrid of the wild Virginia strawberry (native to North America) and a Chilean variety. The plant produces succulent, red, conical fruit from tiny white flowers, and sends out runners to propagate.
They have been around for thousands of years but they were not cultivated until the Renaissance period in Europe.
Historians think the word strawberry comes from the Old English strawbridge, because the plant sends out runners which could be taken for pieces of straw.
Strawberries are native to North America, Indigenous peoples used them in their dishes (they did not cultivate them because they were abundant in the wilds). The first colonists in America shipped the native larger strawberry plants back to Europe as early as 1600. Another variety of strawberry was discovered in Central and South America and the conquistadors called it “futilla.”
The cultivation only started in the early 19th century, because
this fruit became a very luxurious dessert. New York became the hub and from there started a railroad to supply other states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, and Tennessee. Fun fact: the first strawberry festival was organized in 1850 in California, where 75% of the production of North America is still made.
Want to hear some fun facts? Kiwifruits are actually a perfect taste mix to associate strawberries with. And you have a lot of choices as there are over 60 different species of kiwifruits. Bees are main pollinators of kiwifruit, usually the farmers often pollinate kiwifruit on their own by spreading large quantities of pollen toward the female plants. Kiwifruits can also produce fruits for up to 30 years and to survive more than 50 years. The fuzzy skin is edible and is extremely nutritious. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, it might be a good idea to eat a couple of kiwifruits and strawberries one hour before bedtime. The antioxidants and serotonin present in them is believed to not only help you sleep more quickly but more soundly as well. Have you ever tried a cup of kiwifruits and strawberries?
The plants can last for five to six with careful cultivation, but most farmers use them as an annual crop, replanting yearly. Strawberries are social plants, requiring both a male and a female to produce fruit. Crops take eight to 14 months to mature. Here are a few things you need to know to grow healthy strawberries in your garden:
- Plant them during the spring or the fall depending on your growing zone. In-ground gardens, raised beds, and containers are all excellent growing areas.
- Place the plants 18 inches apart. Strawberries need 8 or more hours of sun a day and an acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.8.
- Add several inches of aged compost or rich organic to give your native soil a boost.
- Water your plants 1 to 1.5 inches weekly but avoid wetting the leaves.
- Feed the plants with a continuous-release fertilizer.
- Pick the strawberries in the cool morning and refrigerate them right away.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Rich in flavor, strawberries are great for you and your
cardiovascular system. Their level of polyphenol helps prevent heart disease with an added boost of potassium. This high potassium content is crucial for people with raised risk of high blood pressure by helping to offset the effects of sodium in the body.They have other health benefits that you will appreciate and share with your family and friends:
- boost the immune system
- help maintaining the health vision
- assist cancer prevention
- improve the health of your skin, especially the apparition of wrinkles
- allow an increase of the fiber intake in your diet
- aid weight management
If you choose dried strawberries to snack on, know that they are delicious enough to be eaten out of hand or added to a yogurt, an ice cream, a muffin or bread.
Their level of Vitamin C and antioxidants help lower bad cholesterol and they support the digestion process.
To maintain the taste and texture of your dried strawberries, keep them in a sealed package in the main compartment of your refrigerator. They can last up to six months!
If you want, you can also freeze your dried strawberries: it removes the moisture and allows you to enjoy your treats for a longer period of time. Freezing your dried strawberries doesn’t require you to add any sugar or chemicals!