The very word brings back memories of picking strawberries with my mother so she could make strawberry jam. Thinking back on that, I know I ate way more than I actually picked.
Local foods such as asparagus and rhubarb have hit our markets, and now’s the time for the famous strawberry to hit our taste buds. There is nothing like eating a fresh Chatham-Kent grown strawberry.
Did you know there are over 600 varieties of strawberries in the world? Their history dates back over 2,000 years with records showing a number of native varieties in many parts of the world.
In the early eighteenth century, a strawberry hybrid was created that took its size from a South American variety and its taste and fragrance from France. This created what it is known today as the common strawberry that is preferred throughout the world.
The use of strawberries and of the strawberry plant itself for therapeutic purposes dates back as long as they have been eaten. Native North Americans prepared infusions of strawberry plant leaves as a treatment for stomach pain and gastrointestinal ailments such as diarrhea.
Strawberries also contain a large amount of antioxidant, anticancer, anti-neurodegenerative and anti-inflammatory properties, making them, like many other berries, very useful as a natural alternative to western medicine.
Strawberries are an excellent source of dietary fibre and vitamins C and K. They are a very good source of manganese, pantothenic acid, vitamin B1, and iodine. They are a good source of folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B6. Strawberries contain high levels of antioxidants (researchers are investigating antioxidants for the prevention of diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease).
From a technical standpoint, the seeds of the strawberry are the actual fruits of the plant, and the flesh of the strawberry is modified receptacle tissue. It is whitish-green as it develops and in most species turns red when ripe.
Not only are strawberries delicious in all sorts of foods, but they are also nutritious. One cup of strawberries (about 8-10 berries) gives us the following:
- Calories 50
- Protein 1 g
- Fat 0.6 g
- Carbohydrates 11 g
- Sugar 7 g
- Fibre 3.5 g
- Iron 0.6 mg
- Sodium 2 mg
- Calcium 22 mg
- Phosphate 30 mg
- Riboflavine 0.1 mg
- Vitamin C 85 mg
- Potassium 240 mg
- Zinc 0.2 mg
- Niacin 0.4 mg
- Vitamin B6 92 mcg
- Folate 34 mcg
One of the previous drawbacks of the strawberry season was that it was too short. But now, we have day-neutral strawberries. These type of strawberries will blossom and set fruit no matter how long or how short the days. This means we can now enjoy Chatham-Kent strawberries from May to October, which is great news for all of us. This also means our growers are able to compete for a longer period of time with imported strawberries.
So now is the time to go out and pick your own or buy some delicious and nutritious Chatham-Kent grown strawberries at many of our local produce stands, markets and stores. Keep supporting our local producers. It’s good for you, knowing you are eating fresh and nutritious foods, and great for our local economy.
Think about this – Man’s way leads to a hopeless end, but God’s way leads to an endless hope.
Just some food for thought.