Strawberry Day is February 27th
In many different polls around the internet, strawberries are voted the number one favorite fruit to a majority of people. They are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the United States and are one of the USA’s most exported fruits. Few things are as universally loved as the strawberry. Celebrate this beloved fruit on February 27th by baking a strawberry pastry, using strawberry jam, eating strawberry ice cream, or sharing some chocolate covered strawberries with your loved one. Or just eat the juicy berry all on its own. Either way you’re in for a delicious way to spend a day.
History of Strawberries
It is said that the name strawberry likely comes from the fact the plant sends out runners that are likened to pieces of straws. Or the practice of mulching strawberries or finding them growing in hay. However, it is also believed the name came from the practice of selling the berries on pieces of straws.
The cultivation of strawberries started in Europe in the 1300s when the French transplanted the wood strawberry (Fragaria Vesca) and in the 1500s the musky strawberry (Fragaria moschata). By the 1600s the Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) was being cultivated in North America.
9 Interesting Facts About Strawberries
Fact 1: Strawberries are a part of the Rosaceae (Rose) family and go by the scientific name of Fragaria x ananassa. The letter "x" in its name indicates that strawberry is of hybrid origin. It is said that a French spy brought the Chilean strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) from Chile to France in 1714. The French accidentally pollinated the Chilean strawberry with the Virginia strawberry causing cross-pollination creating a hybrid that is better known as the modern day strawberry we all eat today.
Fact 2: There are three different types of cultivated strawberries: June-bearing, everbearing, or day-neutral. June-bearing cultivars respond to the short-days of spring, bearing their entire crop over a period of two to three weeks. In contrast, everbearing cultivars produce two crops annually: one in the spring and one in the fall. Day-neutral cultivars do not respond to the length of day versus length of night. They flower and set fruit whenever the temperature is between 35 and 85 degrees F. Unlike June-bearing types, day-neutral cultivars produce a crop the first year they are planted.
Fact 3: Botanically, the "fruit" of the strawberry is not a fruit at all. The fleshy, edible part of the plant is the enlarged receptacle of the flower. The visible "seeds" that dot the surface of the strawberry actually are achenes. An achene is a type of dry fruit that does not open to release the seed.
Fact 4: Symbolism and Uses- For example, it was used as a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shape and red color. The ancient Romans believed that strawberries had great medicinal value; they used it to alleviate things like melancholy and kidney stones among other things. Medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals to symbolize perfection and righteousness.
Fact 5: Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in fresh strawberry juice. Supposedly, she used 22 pounds of strawberry fruit per bath.
Fact 6: According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the annual per capita consumption of fresh and frozen strawberries is 4.85 pounds.
Fact 7: Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States and every province of Canada.
Fact 8: California produces an amazing one billion pounds of strawberries each year. If all the strawberries produced in California in one year were laid berry to berry, they would circle the Earth 15 times.
Fact 9: According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's largest strawberry shortcake was 827 square feet in size and weighed 6,000 pounds. It was made in 1999 in Plant City, Florida.
Strawberry Health Benefits
- Good source of fiber and antioxidants
- Good source for vitamins and minerals such as: Vitamin C, Vitamin B9, Potassium, and Manganese.
- Strawberries may improve heart health, lower blood sugar levels, and help prevent cancer.
- Strawberries may also improve blood antioxidant status, decrease oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, improve vascular function, improve your blood lipid profile, and reduce the harmful oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Strawberry Filled Recipes
Overall, Strawberries are a wild berry that has an interesting past, but a very yummy taste.