Monday, December 6, 2010

Healthy Fruit: Strawberry

The garden strawberry is a common plant of the genus Fragaria cultivated worldwide for its aggregate accessory fruit, the (common) strawberry. The fruit is widely appreciated, mainly for its characteristic aroma but also for its bright red color, and it is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in prepared foods such as preserves, fruit juice, pies, ice creams, and milk shakes. Artificial strawberry aroma is also widely used in all sorts of industrialized food products.
The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, in 1740 via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America , which was noted for its flavor, and Fragaria chiloensis from Chile and Argentina brought by Amedee-Francois Frezier, which was noted for its large size. Cultivars of Fragaria × ananassa have replaced, in commercial production, the woodland strawberry, which was the first strawberry species cultivated in the early 17th century.
The strawberry is, in technical terms, an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant's ovaries (achenes) but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each "seed" on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it. In both culinary and botanical terms, the entire thing is called a "fruit".
Strawberry cultivars vary remarkably in size, color, flavor, shape, degree of fertility, season of ripening, liability to disease and constitution of plant. Some vary in foliage, and some vary materially in the relative development of their sexual organs. In most cases the flowers appear hermaphroditic in structure, but function as either male or female.
For purposes of commercial production, plants are propagated from runners and, in general, distributed as either bare root plants or plugs. Cultivation follows one of two general models, annual plasticulture or a perennial system of matted rows or mounds. A small amount of strawberries are also produced in greenhouses during the off season.
Strawberries may also be propagated by seed, though this is primarily a hobby activity, and is not widely practiced commercially. A few seed-propagated cultivars have been developed for home use, and research into growing from seed commercially is ongoing. Seeds (achenes) are acquired either via commercial seed suppliers, or by collecting and saving them from the fruit. Strawberries can also be grown indoors in strawberry pots.
Strawberries are an easy plant to grow, and can be grown almost anywhere in the world. The best thing to do is to buy a plant in early to middle spring. Place the plant preferably in full sun, and in somewhat sandy soil. Strawberries are a strong plant that will survive many conditions, but, during the time that the plant is forming fruit, it is important for it to get enough water. Strawberries can also be grown as a potted plant, and will still produce fruit.
A strawberry plant will send out shoots in an attempt to propagate a new plant, and, if left alone, it will be successful in doing so, but this shoot can be cut off, and placed wherever you wish to start a new plant.
In addition to being consumed fresh, strawberries can be frozen, made into preserves, as well as dried and used in such things as cereal bars. Strawberries are a popular addition to dairy products, as in strawberry-flavored ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies, and yogurts. Strawberries and Cream is a popular dessert, famously consumed at Wimbledon. Strawberry pie is also popular. Strawberries can be dipped in melted chocolate fondue as a healthier way to enjoy chocolate.
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. One cup (144 g) of strawberries contains approximately 45 calories (188 kJ) and is an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids.

Nutritional value per one cup (144 g) of Strawberries
Energy 181 kJ (43 kcal) | Carbohydrates 10.1 g
Dietary fiber 3.3 g | Water 132 g | Fat 0.53 g
Saturated 0.03 g | monounsaturated 0.075 g
Polyunsaturated 0.27 g | Protein 0.88 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.03 mg | Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.1 mg
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.33 mg | Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.49 mg
Vitamin B6 0.09 mg | Folate (Vit. B9) 25 μg
Vitamin A 39 IU | Vitamin A, RE  4.3 μg
Vitamin C 82 mg | Vitamin E 0.20 mg
Calcium 20 mg | Copper 0.07 mg
Iron 0.55 mg | Magnesium 14 mg
Manganese 0.42 mg | Phosphorus 27 mg
Potassium 240 mg | Selenium 1.01 μg
Sodium 1.44 mg | Zinc 0.19 mg

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JandK said...

i just planted my berry plants and cannot wait to harvest them in the spring. I got my starts online from

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