Are strawberries a berry?
The strawberry is not, from a botanical point of view, a berry. Technically, it is an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that the fleshy part is derived not from the plants ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each apparent “seed” on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it (2).
Strawberries bring a smile to most everyone’s faces. The green leaves light up a field and lush fruit enliven a counter top. Their peak season is in the spring and summer. When the farmers put up the u-pick signs it’s time to get picking.
Grown in temperate regions all around the world. They can vary in size depending on the cultivar and growing conditions. You might have noticed an overall conical heart shape. Upon ripening there is a bright red sheen and juicy yet firm texture. The sugar content may range from sweet-tart to candy sweet (1).
Strawberries are often grouped according to their flowering habit. Traditionally, this has consisted of a division between “June-bearing” strawberries, which bear their fruit in the early summer and “ever-bearing” strawberries, which often bear several crops of fruit throughout the season (2).
How much sugar do strawberries have?
Strawberries mainly consist of 91% water and a small amount of carbohydrates at 7.7%. Most of the carbs come from simple sugars. They also contain a decent amount of fiber. Their glycemic level is relatively low. This means they should not lead to big spikes in blood sugar levels (3).
The fiber comprises around 26% of the carbohydrate content. Dietary fibers are important to feed the friendly bacteria in your gut and improve digestive health (3).
Well known for being an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and the B-complex group. To a lesser extent they also contain minerals such as potassium, manganese, fluorine, copper, iron, and iodine (1).
What foods do strawberries go well with?
The Strawberry is a very versatile fruit appropriate for sweet and savory applications, both cooked and raw. They may be used interchangeably with most other berries, but often times have a higher moisture content and therefore may require alterations in some recipes (1).
Use strawberries in a wide variety of green salads or in jam, jellies and other confections. Cook them down into a compote or syrup for drizzling over ice cream and cheesecake or added into beverages and cocktails (1).
Complimentary Pairings Include:
Produce: Apples, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, ginger, kiwi, lemon, limes, mango, melon, nectarines, peaches, oranges, pears, pineapple, raspberries, rhubarb, lettuce, spinach, and watermelon.
Herbs & Spices: Basil, mint, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, and chili.
Dairy: Ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream, creme fraiche, cream, milk, whipped cream, and soft and mild cheeses.
More: Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, sugar, graham crackers, grand marier, rum, custard, champagne, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, oats, red and white wine, balsamic vinegar and honey (4).
Where did strawberries come from?
The woodland strawberry was the first strawberry species cultivated in the early 17th century. In the 18th century it was replaced by the garden strawberry which we have all savored at some point. The garden strawberry, or Fragaria Ananassa, was first bred in Brittany, France in the 1750s. It is a cross between the Fragaria Virgiana, taken from the New World to France in 1624, and Fragaria Chiloensis, a wild strawberry native to Chile brought over to France in 1712 (1, 2). Further breeding were also conducted in Europe and America to improve the hardiness, disease resistance, size, and taste (2).
In 2017, world production of strawberries was 9.2 tonnes. China produced the most at 40% of total production (2).
How do you store strawberries?
Normally it is suggested to wash fruits and vegetables. However, in the case of strawberries, it’s best not to wash until they are definitely going to be eaten. They quickly absorb liquid and if sat too long afterward can start to mold.
After purchasing, if the plan is to indulge within a day they can be left out of the refrigerator. To store in the refrigerator place on paper towels or cloth towel in a container to absorb moisture.
For longer storage method feel free to freeze. Cut off the tops and place in a zip lock bag or container.
Where to get strawberries in the Bay Area?
Sun Valley Berries, LLC was established in 1993 by Rogelio Q. Ponce Sr. after acquiring the skills and knowledge to grow strawberries by working for various berry companies in Watsonville, CA and also working alongside his father, Francisco Ponce, who was a strawberry share grower in the mid 1950s (5).
After many years of successfully growing conventional strawberries, Rogelio Q Ponce Sr. entrusted his sons, Rogelio Ponce Jr. and Steven Ponce to help begin a new chapter for their family business. With their help Sun Valley Berries, LLC began to also grow organic strawberries, blackberries and raspberries (5). Golden Gate Organics partners with Sun Valley berry farm and many other local growers to deliver fresh, seasonal, and organic strawberries to homes and businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Find out more about local Bay Area organic farms we source from at our farm page.