You would think that strawberries were designed to represent love. They are beautiful, sweet, red and when cut in half are just about a perfect heart-shape.
In ancient Rome strawberries were used for their healing power, the leaves were used to create medicines to alleviate depression and other ailments. Because of its heart shape, red hue, and seed-studded exterior they were associated with love, beauty, and fertility and the goddess Venus. People often made offerings at her temple.
Another historic legend inferred that if someone eats half a strawberry and feeds the other half to someone else, these two people would fall in love with each other in no time. In the French countryside, there was once a tradition of serving newlyweds cold strawberry soup to help promote the aphrodisiac of honeymoon romance.
There may well be some facts behind these legends, as strawberries are both delicious and a healthy food source. They are low in calories and have elements which contribute to feelings of happiness. The fruit is rich in vitamin C, which aids in the production of endorphins and the absorption of iron. They are also a good source of potassium, which helps in the generation of nerve impulses. The red colour of strawberries is due to anthocyanidin, a flavonoid known as pelargonidin which can change our mood for the better.
Buying strawberries from the farmers markets or a supermarket is easy, but you could also consider picking them yourself. Picking fresh strawberries – or other berries – provides a hands-on experience which is both fun and highly rewarding, especially if you have a few cheeky taste tests along the way! February is an ideal time to pick berries, unless you live in the Northern Territory where the fruit is not grown. Here’s a list of farms where you can pick strawberries.
It’s best to eat strawberries fresh, because they can spoil quickly. Experts say you should look for red fruits with bright green caps. Don’t cut or rinse them until you’re ready to serve. Generally, whole strawberries last one to two days on the countertop, five to seven days in the fridge, and six to eight months in the freezer.
Enjoy eating strawberries!