The Strawberry is widely appreciated for its distinct flavor, taste, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. Actually, the strawberry is not classified by botanists as a true berry. True berries, such as blueberries and cranberries have seeds inside. The strawberry, however has its dry, yellow “seeds” on the outside (each of which is actually considered a separate fruit).
Strawberries are enjoyed fresh, frozen, and in preserves, fruit juice, pies and cobblers, short-cake, ice creams, milkshakes, and even dipped in chocolate.
Strawberries have been around for hundreds of years. The first garden strawberry was grown in France in the late 18th century, but was harvested from forest to gardens in the early 1300s. Prior to the 1300’s strawberries grew wild. It’s interesting that the first mention of the strawberry in ancient Roman literature referred to its medicinal use. European monks in the early 1400s used the wild strawberry in their illuminated manuscripts. In Italian, Flemish, German art, and English miniatures, the strawberry was used, symbolizing perfect righteousness; and the strawberry plant was used to cure depressive illnesses. By the 1500s people used the cultivated strawberry for medicinal purposes.
Native Indians called strawberries “heart-seed berries” and pounded them into a corn-meal bread. When the early Colonists in America tasted this bread, they created their own version which we know and enjoy today as Strawberry Shortcake. During the 18th century the Anglo-Saxon word “Streabergen” meaning ‘to spread’ was used when referencing strawberries. At one time they were called “strewnberries” because they were strewn about wherever they grew.
However you call it, the strawberry is not only a delicious fruit, but one that is very health for you as well. According to the Whole Foods website, strawberries rank 3rd among all U.S. foods including spices, seasonings, fruits, and vegetables.
It is not surprising to see strong research supporting health benefits of strawberries in these three major areas: (1) cardiovascular support and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, (2) improved regulation of blood sugar, with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, and (3) prevention of certain cancer types including breast, cervical, colon, and esophageal cancer. Along with other vitamins (C especially) and minerals, strawberries are very high in potassium, fiber, and manganese. However you slice them, strawberries are just plain good for you! And they fit “the plan.”