The Strawberry blossoms are blooming in Londonderry fields, with the indications that the plants are going to be bearing fruit soon. At the farms in Londonderry, the scheduled date for the start of Strawberry picking season will be this first week in June.
In addition to being consumed fresh, strawberries can be frozen, made into preserves, as well as dried and used in such things as cereal bars. Strawberries are a popular addition to dairy products, as in strawberry flavored ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies and yogurts. Strawberry pigment extract can be used as a natural acid/base indicator due to the different color of the conjugate acid and conjugate base of the pigment.
There are many explanations on how strawberries got their name. Some believe that the name came from the practice of placing straw around the growing plants for protection; others believe the name originated over 1000 years ago because of the runners which spread outward from the plant.
Fun Facts About Strawberries:
- Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside.
- The average strawberry has 200 seeds.
- Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
- Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
- Ninety-four percent of US households consume strawberries.
- Americans eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year plus another 1.8 pounds frozen.
- Strawberries are low fat, low calorie; high in vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, potassium
- Strawberries, as part of a 5 a day fruit & vegetable program, can help reduce the risk of cancer & heart attacks.
- Over 53 percent of seven to nine-year-olds picked strawberries as their favorite fruit.
- Eating strawberries, which are rich in nitrate, can increase the flow of blood & oxygen to the muscles by 7%. This prevents muscle fatigue, making exercise easier.
- In a test, subjects who ate nitrate rich foods like strawberries, before exercising burned 100 more calories than those who did not.
Sacred to the both Goddess of Love and the Virgin Mary, strawberries boast a long, dramatic history:
- Strawberries were cultivated by the Romans as early as 200 BC. Strawberries were regarded as an aphrodisiac of the highest quality. Newlyweds traditionally were served a soup of thinned sour cream, strawberries, borage (a European herb whose flavor is reminiscent of cucumber) and powdered sugar.
- The ancient Romans believed that strawberries alleviated symptoms of melancholy, fainting, all inflammations, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, attacks of gout, and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.
- In parts of Bavaria, country folk still practice the annual rite each spring of tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves. They believe that the elves are passionately fond of strawberries and will help to produce healthy calves and an abundance of milk in return.
- Folk lore states that if you split a double strawberry in half and share it with someone, you’ll soon fall in love.
- The second wife of Henry VIII, Queen Anne Boleyn (1507-36), had a strawberry-shaped birthmark on her neck. Unfortunately, some claimed this fact proved she was a witch.
- The strawberry is recognized as representing absolute perfection in the Victorian language of flowers.
- Medieval stonemasons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals, symbolizing perfection and righteousness. During the same time period, strawberries were served at important state occasions and festivals to ensure peace and prosperity.
Oh and about those “fields forever,” they actually have to be rotated and replanted every few years. Both Elwood Orchards and Sunnycrest Farms have strawberries in June each year. Click on the farm names to get a map with directions.
See you there!