With Wimbledon 2015 just around the corner (29th June 2015) our thoughts don't just turn to the tennis and the manicured courts. But also the red succulent strawberry. With 8600 punnets containing 10 strawberries are expected to be sold each day over the two week tournament. Strawberries are synonymous with this annual fortnight.
It is one of the most popular 'fruits' in the world. There are more than 10 species that differ in flavour, size and texture, yet all have the same heart shaped , red flesh and seeded coat. But did you know the strawberry is actually not a fruit. It is in fact a member of the rose family.
Strawberries have a long history and date back to the Roman times. Native to many parts of the world. Hundreds of varieties exist to cross breeding techniques.
In 1714 a French engineer commissioned to Chile and Peru saw that the strawberry native to those regions was much larger than those in Europe. He brought back a sample to cultivate in France. The end result was our sweet hybrid garden strawberry.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and K also providing fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium. Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion, and the fibre is thought to have satiating effect. Their leaves can also be eaten raw, cooked or used to make tea.
The vibrant red colour of strawberries is due to large amounts of anthocyanidin. This means they contain powerful antioxidants and thought to protect against inflammatory cancer and heart disease.
The even better news is that strawberries can easily be grown in coco peat grow bags and you can get a good crop of tasty fruit from the smallest garden or patio, or even a sunny balcony.
But finally just a word of warning....go easy on the fresh cream topping.
Enjoy the tennis and love the strawberries. But bring your brolly!