It’s strawberry time in Ontario! Ontario grown strawberries are usually smaller and sweeter than the imported ones you find in store, year-round. That’s part of the reason we love them so much – but the other part is that there strawberries are so versatile. You can include them in sweet and savoury dishes – everything from soups, salads, entrées, desserts and drinks.
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT STRAWBERRIES:
- Strawberries are the only fruit that wear their seeds on the outside. The average berry is adorned with some 200 of them. No wonder it only takes one bite to get seeds stuck in your teeth.
- Strawberries aren’t true berries, like blueberries or even grapes. Technically, a berry has its seeds on the inside. And, to be über technical, each seed on a strawberry is considered by botanists to be its own separate fruit. Whoa, meta!
- Strawberries are members of the rose family. Should you come upon a bush of them growing, you’ll see: they smell as sweet as they taste.
- The strawberry plant is a perennial.This means if you plant one now, it will come back next year and the following and the year after that. It may not bear fruit immediately, but once it does, it will remain productive for about five years.
- Ontario grown strawberries are at their peak in June and July. But good news – day-neutral strawberries can be found from May to October in Ontario!
- Belgium has a museum dedicated to strawberries. In the gift shop at Le Musée de la Fraise (The Strawberry Museum), you can buy everything from strawberry jam to strawberry beer.
- Native Americans ate strawberries long before European settlers arrived. As spring’s first fruit, they were a treat, eaten freshly picked or baked into cornbread.
- The ancient Romans thought strawberries had medicinal powers. They used them to treat everything from depression to fainting to fever, kidney stones, bad breath and sore throats.
- Sex & Strawberries? In France, where they’re believed to be an aphrodisiac, strawberries are served to newlyweds at traditional wedding breakfasts in the form of a creamy sweet soup.
- Strawberries are believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. They are low in calories and high in vitamins C, B6, K, fiber, folic acid, potassium and amino acids.