Fruit – Vegetable – Tropical Fruits
Small, red and sweet — simply compelling. Most Austrians take a “great fancy” to strawberries. Very delicious and aromatic strawberries come from domestic fields.
The garden strawberry coincidentally developed in France in the middle of the 18th Century. The large sized but quite tasteless Chilean strawberry — which came to Europe in 1712 and were common from southern Chile to Peru, California to Alaska and in Hawaii — fertilized the small, savoury scarlet-strawberries that arrived in Europe in 1623. This crossbreeding was not intended, but became a great success because the descendants share characteristics of both parents and a newly cultivated plant — the garden strawberry — was born. The cultivation of the strawberry was at first limited to house and palace gardens. French, English and some German varieties dominated the fruits available.
The first so-called Ananas (pineapple-strawberries) were planted in Wiesen (Burgenland), 1870. Through good sales at the Viennese market, the cultivation of strawberries increased significantly. There was a “National Research Station for Strawberries” in Wiesen from 1910 to 1922. At that time, the common varieties were: Consumption, Laxtons Noble (vernacularly “The Round”), Late Ones of Leopoldshall, Queen Louise (vernacularly “The Maid”), Pearl of Gotha, Giant of Thuringia, Giant of Resin Country. In the 1920’s Madame Moutot (vernacularly “Paradisish”) became widely accepted as the main variety.
Strawberry plants prefer a weak-acidic reaction from the soil with balanced climate.
From a botanical point of view, strawberries are perennial herbs; they are a false fruit. Their shape and size depends on the variety. Strawberries are coloured light-red to crimson and are more or less firm and rich in juice.
The strawberries value comes from their unique flavour.
Today, strawberries are cultivated almost everywhere around the globe, from subtropical to arctic regions.
Spain, Italy, France and Germany are the four most important exporters in the EU.
Strawberries have to be harvested as ripely as possible, i.e. only fully coloured fruits void of white parts promise the characteristic flavour of strawberries.
Strawberries have to be handled with care. They are very sensitive to pressure and, if they are damaged, rot quickly. The shelf-life of completely perfect fruits, — depending on the variety — stored at an optimum of 0 to 2 °C and 90 to 95 % air humidity amounts to only 3 to 5 days. Strawberries should be eaten quickly, otherwise the fine flavour is lost.
Strawberries aid digestion and the kidneys, vitalise the immune system, and are conducive to the cell growth. Their iron content heals aneamia, as well as articular gout and tuberculosis. The fruits have a high content of mineral nutrients (calcium, potassium, phosphorus and particularly iron), fruit acids, pro-vitamin A, B1 and B2, and above all vitamin C.
Unfortunately some people react to strawberries with allergies (rash of vesicles, urticaria). This is due to a disturbance of the stomach nerves, which can be avoided by sieving and adding a little calcium.