What is more evocative of a British summer than strawberries and cream? Just when that happened is anyone's guess. The earliest mention of the luscious fruit was in Roman times around 200BC. In medieval Great Britain newly weds enjoyed strawberries, borage and soured cream for their wedding breakfast believing them to be an aphrodisiac. The heart shaped fruit has long been a symbol of purity, passion, and healing
It is but a brief time when the fruit is in season, from early June through to August. The arrival of polytunnel-grown fruits has extended that time - good news for those who enjoy the fruits, but perhaps not for those whose countryside views are scarred by plastic.
By far the best strawberries to buy have to be from a local producer. A day out strawberry picking can be fun; supermarkets may sell the cotton wool impostors cheaply but the flavor is incomparable to home grown fruits.
How to Choose Strawberries
- Buy unblemished fruit with bright green hulls. Wash and handle them gently and as little as possible to avoid bruising.
- Only remove the hull after washing.
- Always let the fruit come to room temperature before eating. Better still, an hour in the sunshine before serving will dramatically improve the flavor.
Health Benefits of British Strawberries
- Five strawberries provide more vitamin C than an entire orange.
- Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Strawberries contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants which help to fight free radicals These antioxidant properties are believed to be linked to what makes the strawberry bright red.
- Strawberries were used medicinally to help with digestive ailments, discolored teeth and skin irritations.
How to Serve British StrawberriesThe simplest and one of the best ways to serve strawberries are with cream. There are, however many more recipes both savoury and sweet. Of course, if the day out picking your own gives a glut of fruit, jam is a way to preserve the flavors of summer for the cold, dark, winter months.
- Strawberry Jam Recipe
- Strawberry Jelly Recipe
- Eton Mess Recipe
- English Summer Pudding Recipe
- Berry Sorbet Recipe
- English Strawberry Trifle Recipe
British Strawberry Varieties
- ELSANTA: Still the most popular strawberry in Britain because of its long cropping season and excellent taste.
- DRISCOLL CAMARILLO: Excellent flavour and is now produced on a large scale.
- AVA: Is a premium Scottish strawberry renowned for its flavour.
- ENGLISH ROSE: This new premium variety is notable for its unusual and outstanding flavour, reminiscent of orange zest.
- EVE'S DELIGHT: Eve's Delight combines juicy flavour with excellent shelf life.
- JUBILEE:Jubilee was developed and first sold in 2002 and has since established itself as one of the best-flavoured varieties of all.
- SONATA: A large, firm, well-flavoured mid-season variety.
- RED PRINCESS:A heart shaped sweet flavour berry.
- SWEET EVE: Excellent yields and good flavour.
- RED GLORY: Sweet juicy fruit throughout the season.
- EVIE: With a distinctive flavour and paler fruit, Evie goes particularly well with ice-cream.
- DRISCOLL JUBILEE: Recognised as one of the best UK strawberry eating varieties.