Is there a word that brings as much hope to the heart as “springtime”? Grass, leaves, and flowers burst forth after their winter slumber and the world smells fresh and new. And there are strawberries.
Strawberries are the first berry of the year to hit the market. They help gently turn our thoughts away from citrus and apples and toward the bounty of summer fruits to come. Biting into a sun-warmed strawberry as the juice runs down your fingers and the sweet taste explodes on your tongue is a primal pleasure.
Here are 13 more reasons to enjoy strawberries!
1. Strawberries are high in vitamin C. A one-cup serving features 140% of the vitamin C you need in a day, beating out even oranges. Vitamin C keeps us young by protecting our cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
2. Are you a powerlifter? Strawberries should be your friend, what with their 250 mg of potassium in every cup. Potassium is crucial for muscle contraction, and it helps reduce soreness after training.
3. Strawberries’ red color tells us they’re high in phytonutrients—compounds that protect the plant from environmental damage. These phytonutrients have also been found to help protect us from diseases like cancer.
4. Low cal, high pleasure: a full cup of sliced strawberries, which should be enough to tame a big sugar craving, contains only 54 calories.
Buying, Storing, and Eating
5. Strawberries taste sweeter at room temperature than straight from the fridge, so take them out and let them sit a bit before eating. Of course, they taste sweetest plucked straight from the plant in a sun-warmed field!
6. To keep berries fresh, store in the refrigerator. Always wash them gently, but only before eating—not before storing.
7. The California Strawberry Commission says selecting berries is easy: “Choose berries that have a bright red color, a natural shine, and fresh-looking green caps.”
8. Choose organic strawberries whenever possible. Because they grow close to the ground, strawberries have higher levels of pesticide residue than other berries. The FruitGuys has always sourced only organic strawberries, even for our boxes of conventionally grown fruit, since our founding in 1998.
History and Culture
9. In Shakespeare’s Othello, Desdemona’s handkerchief, embroidered with strawberries, is an essential plot point. Othello tells his wife the red thread for the berries was dyed with the blood of virgins.
10. Sad? Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that strawberries relieved the symptoms of melancholy.
11. Venus was said to have wept so copiously over the death of Adonis that her tears turned to strawberries.
12. Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, has an official snack— strawberries and cream. Nearly 62,000 pounds of the berries are consumed at the tournament each year.
13. Want to learn more about this berry? Travel to Wépion, a small city in Belgium, where some of the most delectable strawberries in Europe are grown. There you’ll find the Musée de la Fraise, or Strawberry Museum.
Miriam Wolf is the editor of The FruitGuys Magazine newsletter.