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Living Loving Local Strawberries

 

Pretty much everyone loves strawberries. This versatile “fruit” can be used in sweet and savoury cooking and of course is delicious eaten raw and in large quantities! It is one of the first fruits to ripen and signifies that summer is around the corner and provides a launch to the preserving/canning season.

History:

  • Seeds found in Europe indicate strawberries existed in prehistoric times.
  • In France, strawberries were cultivated in the 13th century for use as a medicinal herb.
  • Jacques Cartier saw “vast patches” of wild strawberries along the St. Lawrence River in 1534.
  • Commercial cultivation began in 17th century England and by the 1800’s in North America.

Farming Fun:

  • Strawberries are not really berries or fruit but are instead the enlarged ends of the plant’s stamen. The small tan spots are the fruit. Strawberries are a member of the Rose family.
  • Strawberries are grown in all the provinces of Canada with the largest areas of production in Quebec (36%), Ontario (32%), British Columbia (15%) and Nova Scotia (8%). Most strawberries in Canada are June-bearing varieties picked in June and July, but there is an increase in production of day-neutral varieties, which are harvested into the late fall.
  • In recent years, Ontario greenhouse growers have experimented with winter strawberries and this year we were able to find Ontario Greenhouse Grown Strawberries on our shelves in March and April….strawberries that unbelievably taste like strawberries should. They look and taste delicious.
  • If you are lucky enough to stumble across a patch of wild strawberries, be sure to pick and savour. Keep your eyes peeled as they are quite small – most are no bigger than your pinky fingernail and their season is just 2 to 3 weeks long. Blink and you might miss them.

Fun Facts:

  • The size of the berries is not important to taste. All strawberries large and small are equally sweet and juicy.
  • Did you know strawberries can help whiten your teeth? The acids in the fruit help to remove stains.
  • There are about 200 seeds in every strawberry.

Living Loving Local Recipes

This month our Verve properties throughout Canada will feature the following strawberry recipes:

Resources:

The Star

 

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