Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Strawberry: Yummy Fruits A-Z

Wild strawberries have been around for at least 2,200 years ago. Researchers know that Italy had strawberries in 234 BC, where ancient Romans used strawberries to make different types of medicines.

We also know that French kings planted strawberries in their royal gardens in the 14th century and European monks (15th century) wrote of strawberries in their manuscripts. Flemish, German, Italian, and English artists depicted strawberries in their work, while instructions on how to grow strawberries were described in England in 1578. Cultivation of non-wild strawberries followed in the 1750s in Brittany, France. After a period of cross-breeding with a native Chilean strawberry from Chile, a large, juicy and sweet strawberry was developed that became quite popular in Europe.

Meanwhile, settlers who had left for America in the late 1500s discovered native wild strawberries in Virginia and Massachusetts, a berry long since enjoyed by area Indians. Its popularity spread from there. Today the U.S. is the largest producer of strawberries in the world, with California producing the most (Florida second). Spain is the second largest producer, and also the largest exporter of strawberries.

Besides being high in vitamin C and dietary fiber, the health claims for eating strawberries are mainly: 1) support of cardiovascular health & disease prevention; 2) decreased type 2 diabetes risk, help regulating blood sugar; 3) prevention of certain cancers - breast, cervical, colon and esophageal. A word of caution would be the concern for those with gall bladder or untreated kidney problems. The oxalates in strawberries may interfere with calcium absorption. Other than that, enjoy this yummy fruit with gusto! I slice these on my oatmeal with nuts almost daily.

Strawberry Recipes

FRESH: The best way 
to enjoy strawberries!

But for that special occasion try:

"Easy Strawberry Trifle"

2 cups fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups homemade vanilla pudding (or store-bought pudding)
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cups pre-baked angel food cake, cut in one-inch cubes (shortcake or pound cake also works)

--(Reserve 3 or 4 berries for garnish). Hull and slice 1 cup strawberries. Arrange berries along the sides of a clear, glass serving dish (1-1/2 quart size). 

--Place remaining strawberries and sugar in blender container and process until pureed. 

--In mixing bowl, mix pudding and cream cheese with electric mixer and blend well. 

--Place half of cake in bottom of serving dish. Pour half of pureed strawberries over cake, and top with half of pudding mixture.
--Repeat layer. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Before serving stop with reserved berries. Yield: 6 to 8 servings. 

Strawberry Jokes

Q: Why were the little strawberries upset?

A: Because their parents were in a jam!

Q: What did one strawberry say to the other strawberry?

A: If you weren’t so sweet, we wouldn’t be in this jam!


"Rock Berries"

Strawberry Books

--Strawberry Girl (1945) (ages 8-12)
Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully: A Freckleface Strawberry Storyby Lois Lenski (a Newbery Medal book)

--Freckleface Strawberry (2007)
 (ages 3-8) by Julianne Moore & LeUyen Pham 

--Strawberry Hill (2010) (ages 8-12) 
by Mary Ann Hoberman 


--Strawberry Shortcake (various titles) (2003-2014) A popular series for ages 2 to 6 years; I counted 131 books online! 
Note: the American Greetings character "Strawberry Shortcake" evolved commercially 
to include: dolls, toys, songs, posters, movies, TV series, video games, cartoons, and books. Lawsuits regarding ownership of this character and related continue to this day.

--The Strawberry Statement by James Simon Kunen (1969) (nonfiction) (Chronicles a student's experience at Columbia University; counterculture and student revolts, 1960s).

Strawberry Movies

--Strawberry Blonde (1941)  
James Cagney and Olivia DeHaviland

--Strawberry Summer (2012)  
Julie Mond and Trevor Donovan

--The Strawberry Statement (1970)
Bruce Davison and Kim Darby 
(Based on Kunen's book; Winner at Jury Prize Cannes Film Festival, 1970)

Strawberry Songs

--Strawberry Wine - Deana Carter (1996)

--Strawberry Letter 23 - The Brothers Johnson (1977)

--Strawberry Roan - Ed McCurdy (a cowboy song) 
(written by Curley Fletcher, first published 1936)

--Raspberries Strawberries - Kingston Trio
(first released, 1960)

--Strawberry Swing - Coldplay (released 2009)

--Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles (1967)
Although credited to both John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the story behind this song is that John was inspired by a garden he had played in as a child near his home. The garden was located at a Salvation Army children's home called "Strawberry Field."

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=32
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry_Shortcake; http://www.berries4u.com/history.htm; http://www.strawberries-for-strawberry-lovers.com/where-are-strawberries-grown.html#sthash.3SVXz5SO.dpbs


  1. I didn't know that the US was the world's largest producer of strawberries. I've always thought of strawberries as a very romantic fruit.

    1. Yes, I think you are right. Very romantic....and they look like hearts when sliced.

  2. I Love Strawberries and buy them every week. I have a recipe which is light actually. Take a box of strawberries and blend them (save a few for a topping). Take whipping cream-whip it with sugar (or fake sugar). It should be a little too sweet for your taste. Whip it until stiff peaks form. fold the strawberry blend into the whipping cream and place in bowls. Place in fridge and it sets like a pudding.

    1. Thanks, Birgit. That sounds easy to do. Yum!

  3. Nothing better than fresh strawberries. One of the best things about summer around here. :)

    1. Oh, I agree 100%. I recently created a new strawberry bed. Can't wait!

  4. I wish we could get good ones around here. California strawberries are beautiful, but tasteless. Maybe the CSA program will come through for us.

    1. I know what you mean. Oddly though, I have noticed recent berries in the store actually taste pretty good. I wonder what's up with that.

  5. Yum, just popped back to say hello.
    Nice to meet and connect through atozchallenge. http://aimingforapublishingdeal.blogspot.co.uk/

    1. Hi, Charlotte. Nice to see you again :)

  6. Hi Sharon .. I do love strawberries - especially if I can pick them straight from the bush .. this year I'll go to the pick your own farm ... too good to miss - cheers Hilary

    1. Most of the ones I pick seldom make it into a recipe. They are so good straight from the garden!

  7. My grandparents used to have rows and rows of strawberries when I was a kid...talk about things you take for granted! My daughter was a Strawberry Shortcake doll fan!

    1. Oh, I knew there had to be some strawberry shortcake fans out there. Thanks for stopping by, Andrea.

  8. Back in Austria, my mother always took me to gather wild strawberries and, later, blueberries. Oh, how good those jams and preserves were in the winter (even though I grumbled enough during picking time). There is no comparison between the aroma and taste of the wild and the glassy cultivated berries!

    1. Wild berries always seem to taste better, don't they? I take what I can get. Thanks for sharing, Inge.

  9. Who knew there was so much to write about strawberries. You've deepened my appreciation for what was already one of my favorite fruits!

    Thought I followed your blog. Found out I didn't. Do now. :-)

    1. Hi, Lee. Thanks for the follow! I thought you were a member, too. Go figure :)

  10. The strawberry stands have been set up for a couple months now. Every time I drive by, they're sold out. But it's early yet. Soon they'll be at their peak.

    1. I buy them in season and out of season. They are in the stores year round, but the taste is best this time of year....and best from the garden :)


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