Strawberries are a low-lying perennial with sweet, aromatic fruit. In the wild they are relatively small, usually no more than a few centimeters long. They are somewhat bushy with pointed leaves. The small white flowers produce the fruit in the early summer. The fruit is heart-shaped, and unusual to most fruits, the seeds form on the outside. They propagate by sending out runners which form daughter plants from the mothers.

Girl eating strawberries

Strawberries, like many other berries, come from the rose family. Scientifically they are called Fragaria. The history of strawberries as they relate to humans goes back several millenia. Strawberries have long been picked and consumed in the wild. However, it was not until the 1300s that they were cultivated, and this for the French court.

Strawberries have many health benefits. Like many other berries, they are loaded with antioxidants, which helps prevent cell damage due to attacks by free radicals. Ellagic acid is also found in strawberries. It is known to be a cancer fighting agent. They are loaded with vitamin C, and some believe that they actually help reduce acne.

How to grow strawberries: Begin with rich soil in a sunny patch of ground. Individual plants should be spaced about about two feet apart when using seedlings. Be sure to water well at planting time. Keep the plants well-watered. (The soil should be moist, but not constantly wet.) Strawberries will not bear fruit the first year. In subsequent years berries will form in the early summer. They should be picked when they turn red. Mother plants will send out runners and establish daughter plants. The bearing lifetime of plants is generally about three years at which time sufficient daughters should be established to take the place of the older plants which then may be removed to make way for new daughters. The soil should be fertilized periodically to maintain the best quality fruit.

Strawberries are an extremely popular fruit. Recipes for strawberries are generally in the form of a dessert. The are most commonly eaten fresh and raw. In which case they can be eated in salads, with cream, or simply straight out of the container. Fresh strawberries only last for about four days in the refrigerator. To preserve them for longer periods freezing them or turning them into jam are the best options.

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