Strawberries, history and health value

History can no longer trace where the strawberry originally came from, but it was even mentioned by ancient writers. Ovid and Pliny praised this unusual fruit and in his third Eclogae Virgil wrote: ‘You young people beware when picking flowers and strawberries, for, behold, hidden in the grass lies an asp’. The cry of the London hawkers, as John Lidgate wrote in 1430, was: ‘Ripe strawberries!’ And according to entries on the civil list of expenses, Henry VIII paid 10 shillings for a ‘pottle’ (a special strawberry basket). The small fragrant fraises des bois, the wild wild strawberries, are still sold in some European markets today. But in the early fourteenth century the French began to transplant wild wild strawberries into their gardens and discovered that they could be grown to the size of blackberries. Since then, hybrid breeders have continued to breed for size and have developed varieties as large as plums (along with continuous flowering varieties and white ripe fruits), making an enormous contribution to the popularity of the strawberry.
Over the centuries, several people have been developing the strawberry, each time taking one step forward, but coming up short on the excitement of the first historic step forward – the marriage of two New World varieties, the pollination of which took place in France took place and from which our lush strawberry emerged. This happened during the reign of Louis Colonel Frezier to spy on the reinforcements in Chile and Peru. Frezier, dressed as a merchant, studied more than just the fortifications. He discovered extravagant strawberries, Fragaria chilensis, with a history as ­long as the European varieties, and took some of the plants back to France. There it was discovered that they were all female plants and, due to the lack of a pollination partner, were unfortunately unsuitable for producing the sensational fruits that Frezier had noticed. Fortunately, when the Chilean strawberry was planted next to a North American species, Fragaria virginiana, it ­suddenly thrived and produced large fruits, little different from today’s strawberries.

Growing strawberries

Ideal for growing strawberries is a spot in the sun, fertile sandy soil with plenty of humus and sufficient moisture. Heavier soil should not be watered too much. Buy the plants ­or cut some runners from the plants of an acquaintance. Plant in early spring or late summer and ensure that the base of the young plants is just above the soil. Planting in late summer gives the plant the opportunity to establish itself during the wintering period and perhaps produce a small harvest in the first year. In any case, plants that have not established well should have their flowers removed during the first flowering period to allow them to build up vigor for fruit set. Fertilize in spring and late summer. Give new plants a wide space (60 centimeters apart) so that the runners can root between them. If it becomes too full, some suckers will need to be removed. Straw under the fruits serves as protection and even activates ripening.
If the plants rot in the heart and the leaves turn yellow, it is best to replace them. Spider mites and aphids must be controlled. It is advisable to replace the mother plants every three or four years with the shoots they have formed.

Strawberries tasty

Strawberries are tastiest freshly picked, if desired with a little flour sugar, for example. But with an abundant ­strawberry harvest you will probably have enough fruits at your disposal to experiment with them in the kitchen. Strawberry jam, strawberry cake, cottage cheese with strawberries are classic delicacies

Strawberry leaf

But strawberry leaves can also be used medicinally and as a tea. Its tannin content, just like in Chinese tea, makes it a drinkable tea, possibly combined with raspberry leaf and blackberry leaf. This tea can be steeped a little longer or concentrated against diarrhea. Dodonaeus in his CruydtBoeck also mentions the astringent, astringent effect of the strawberry leaf. ‘Early, cruyt ghesoden and ghedroncken / stems the course of the buycx and the women’s abundant natural crankheyt. The same water that is present there, cruyt in ghesoden ash in the mount, strengthens that tan meat/ it heals those quade swellings of the mount and expels all quade rueck from there.
The juice of the leaves makes them pink and all kinds of red in the view.

Scientific research shows, among other things, that both strawberries and strawberry leaves have a pain-relieving effect. They also contain high concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals . Anthocyanins, for example, dyes that also occur in blueberries. Another substance, also abundant in strawberries, is catechin (tann), an anti-inflammatory and astringent, making our strawberry an effective and natural antibiotic. Strawberries have a beneficial intestinal effect and remove harmful heavy metals and other toxic waste products from our body. They expel intestinal gases and are effective against diarrhea.

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