Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana F. species) is a member of the Rosaceae or Rose Family. The genus name comes from the Latin fraga and refers to the plant’s enticing fragrance. How the name strawberry came to be, is theorized that either it was straw being used as a mulch between plants, or that the berries appear to be strewn amongst the leaves on the ground, or perhaps because the ripe berries were threaded on straws to be taken to market. Strawberry is native to both the Old and New Worlds.
Strawberries are considered sweet, sour, cool, and moist. Therapeutic properties include blood purifying, astringent, diuretic, liver tonic and healing to wounds. Strawberry is used as a medicinal food to improve anemia, constipation, fevers, hangover, high blood pressure, and jaundice. Because strawberry helps the body eliminate uric acid, it is used for gout, arthritis and rheumatism. As strawberry moistens the lungs, it has been helpful for dry cough, sore throat and tuberculosis. In European folklore, eating strawberries is said to improve memory. Strawberries contain ellagic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer compound. Cut strawberries rubbed over the teeth, whiten them and remove plaque, without damaging enamel.
Strawberries are rich in flavonoids, vitamins B, C, E, and iron.
Everyone knows to enjoy the ripe berries plain, in jams, pies, tarts, on shortcake, yogurt or with cream to name but a few possibilities. Enjoy strawberries for breakfast or dessert. Use them in smoothies and of course to decorate. Dip them in melted chocolate or carob.
Strawberries are one of the most hybridized and highest contaminated produce items, treated with herbicides and pesticides. It is very worthy to buy organic. Berries that are overly large often lack flavor and those with whitish tips are often collected too long before properly ripening. Store them in an open container, removing any spieled berries first. Leave the green caps on while rinsing, to prevent water from entering the berry and diluting the flavor.
Strawberries can be allergenic for some people, especially when they are not vine ripened, causing skin eruptions or indigestion. Eating the fruits may turn one’s urine pink temporarily, but is no cause for alarm.