Our Stone-Age ancestors were the first to discover the wonderful taste of strawberries. The large cultivated strawberries we enjoy today evolved from the garden strawberry that emerged from the American varieties imported to Europe in the 18th century. Over 1,000 different species exist today. While strawberries are cultivated all over the world, the US is currently the leading producer.
Strawberries belong to the Rosaceae family. Actually, botanists do not regard them as berries, but rather as aggregate fruits, which means that their blossom carpets form ovaries from the red surface of which the actual fruits emerge as small, yellow seeds.
Strawberries contain 90 percent water and remarkably few calories. However, they are an excellent source of vitamins (including vitamin C) as well as folic acid and iron.
There many different varieties of strawberries, each with its own distinctive size and shape. Most strawberries are orange to dark reddish-purple in colour.
Strawberries contain more than 300 different aromatic substances. The fruits must be harvested in fully ripe condition, as they do not ripen after picking. Although people enjoy eating fresh strawberries, they are also a popular ingredient in cakes and pies, and are among the most popular fruits used in the production of preserves and jams. Strawberries are also found in yogurt, junket, ice-cream, smoothies and fruit beverages.