The earliest mention of the strawberry dates back to Roman times around 200BC. In medieval Great Britain newlyweds enjoyed strawberries, borage and soured cream for their wedding breakfast, believing them to be an aphrodisiac. The heart-shaped fruit has long been a symbol of purity, passion, and healing and strawberries were used medicinally to help with digestive ailments, discoloured teeth and skin irritation.
In order to grow, strawberries need as much as six hours of direct sunlight every day. Strawberries should only be picked when they are fully ripe since they do not continue to ripen after they have been picked.
The fruit should be washed and handled gently and as little as possible to avoid bruising; the hull should be only be removed after washing otherwise the water will saturate the strawberry and dilute the flavour. Always let the fruit come to room temperature before eating; better still, leave strawberries for an hour in the sunshine before serving to significantly improve their flavour.
Strawberries contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants; the latter is believed to be linked to the fruit’s bright red colour. As well as being packed with vitamins, folic acid and potassium, strawberries are an excellent source of manganese, folic acid, potassium, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, five strawberries can provide more vitamin C than an entire orange.
Jo and Liz Purser are one of Reynolds’ key strawberry growers.
If you’re looking for some fresh ideas for your menu, check out our recipe section which includes Macerated strawberries with strawberry and balsamic ripple ice cream.