Strawberries: Facts and Fable

August 31, 2012

Today, strawberries rank as the most beloved berry in the world—and perhaps they always have.

Berries with Sugar
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

Facts in a moment, but first a Cherokee fable: 

The Creator wants to share his creation, so creates First Woman. Assuming she'd like human company, He creates First Man. First Woman's curiosity wreaks heavenly havoc, causing the earth to take shape, but we'll skip the geological details. First Woman and First Man have a blowout fight, after which she announces: "You are lazy and pay no attention to me." With that, she gathers her belongings and takes off with a "hurrumph." First Man quickly regrets his actions. He heads out in hot pursuit, but First Woman is walking too fast. First Man can't catch up. He beseeches his Creator: "Please, slow her down, so I can tell her how much she means to me." 


The Creator starts setting temptations in her path. He tries huckleberries, blueberries and blackberries. She pays no heed and continues at a frantic clip. Finally, the Creator raids His own garden, throwing the first strawberries down to earth. First Woman stops in her tracks. She picks. She eats. She forgets her anger. First Man finds her. She takes his hand and leads him home, feeding him strawberries all the way.


Today, strawberries rank as the most beloved berry in the world. They're the only fruit with external seeds-some 200 seeds per berry. Ounce for ounce, they have more Vitamin C than citrus, and they're packed with cancer fighting phytonutrients. Strawberries won't ripen after picked, so avoid green ones and remember that smallish berries can be more flavorful than colossal ones.


—By Jo Marshall, a food writer in Deephaven, Minn.


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Fruity dessert or snack that substitutes gelatin cubes for ice cream.


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