This hardy member of the rose family is a red, juicy sweet-tart berry. The French “European Alpine” strawberries are tiny, very sweet berries and are considered the finest. Eaten out-of-hand, used in wines, liqueurs, jams, and in desserts.
The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750s via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis, which was brought from Chile by Amédée-François Frézier in 1714.
Technically, the strawberry is an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant’s ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each apparent “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it.
In addition to being consumed fresh, strawberries can be frozen, made into preserves, as well as dried and used in prepared foods, such as cereal bars. Strawberries and strawberry flavorings are a popular addition to dairy products, such as strawberry-flavored milk, ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies, and yogurts. Strawberries and cream is a popular dessert, famously consumed at Wimbledon. Depending on area, strawberry pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, or strawberry shortcake are also popular.
In Greece, strawberries are usually sprinkled with sugar and then dipped in Metaxa, a famous brandy, and served as a dessert. In Italy, they are popular served with aged balsamic vinegar.
Strawberry pigment extract can be used as a natural acid/base indicator due to the different color of the conjugate acid and conjugate base of the pigment.
Strawberries contain fisetin, an antioxidant that has been studied in relation to Alzheimer’s disease and to kidney failure resulting from diabetes.