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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Strawberries are delicious and good for you

Ripe strawberries are one of the joys of summer – and they have all sorts of health benefits. Strawberries contain more vitamin C per 100 gram than lemons or oranges. Botanically speaking, strawberries aren’t really berries; they’re aggregate fruits with the creamy-brown seeds clearly visible on the outside of the fruit. The fleshy fruit we eat is actually the receptacle for the ovaries that turns red from the outside in as the strawberry ripens.

How the strawberry got its Latin name

Ripe strawberries have a wonderful aroma and this is what earned them their botanical name. Fragaria means fragrance and Fragaria vesca, the botanical name for wild wood strawberries translates as “edible fragrance”. Strawberries are among the most popular fruit. In 2013, for example, Germans ate 3.5 kilograms per head. By contrast with apples, where you know whether you’re buying a Royal Gala or a Cox’s Orange Pippin, with strawberries this information usually isn’t available. If you’re in Germany, however, the chances are that you’re eating an Elsanta. It’s a mid-season strawberry that meets most of the criteria set by the growers and retailers for productivity, fruit size, transportability and shelf life – although it may not live up to your expectations for taste and aroma. But the taste is generally classed as satisfactory and the fruit overall as medium to good.

Buying and storing strawberries

Check that all the fruit in the punnet are ripe and undamaged. Strawberries won’t continue to ripen after you buy them and they rot quickly because of their high water content, so plan to eat or process them within one or two days. You can buy strawberries in season, when they taste best and are cheapest, and store them frozen for up to two years. To freeze strawberries, hull them and spread them on a baking tray or plastic tray and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, pack them in a bag or box and return them to the freezer. Freezing them this way means they keep their shape better and they can be taken out individually. Don’t forget to sort out overripe or unripe fruit. You can also freeze strawberries as puree in small quantities ready to make delicious desserts or smoothies.

 

Source: Heike Stommel, www.aid.de