To coin a fraise Posted on July 9, 2015

While I’ve been mugging up on fruit history I’ve come across a curious strawberry fact. Our big juicy ones superseded the little European native wood (French fraises des bois) or alpine strawberries (some debate here: are they the same or different?) when the American Fragaria virginiana met and married the Chilean F. chiloensis, introduced (the curious fact) by a chap called Frézier (fraisier: geddit?) – or in Scots, come to that, Fraser. Our strawberry’s botanical name is F.x ananassa, ananas being French for pineapple. One of our best and tastiest varieties is ‘Cambridge Late Pine’.

Note to supermarkets: please label our strawberries (and indeed all our fruit) with the name of the variety as well as where it’s grown. And don’t harvest strawberries by cutting off their stalks and leaving just the green ring of bracts. You need the stalk to pull out the central plug when you put the strawberry, crunchy with sugar, in your mouth.

Who said, incidentally, ‘the raspberry is the thinking man’s strawberry’? Discuss.

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