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   If you were told to pick out the best tasting berries from a platter, which of these would you choose? (a) strawberries (b) blackberries (c) raspberries (d) none of these.

    What if another platter held (e) tomatoes (f) grapes (g) blueberries (h) none of these -- then which ones would you choose?

    According to the World Book, a berry is a "fleshy, many-seeded fruit with the seeds embedded inside the flesh of a single, juicy, enlarged ovary." So actually, tomatoes, blueberries, and grapes are your best berries. Tomatoes come from the nightshade family. Blueberries are part of the heath family. Grapes are in a family all their own.

    Strawberries aren't even in the berry family at all. Nor are strawberries part of the "straw" family; They were originally known as "Strewberries" because they were found Strewn among the foliage. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries {as well as apricots, cherries, peaches and plums,} are members of the Rose Family.  There are almost 200 "seeds" on the surface of a single fruit.

Thriftway strawberries ready to harvest

 
Maybe they aren't berries, but strawberries do produce more food
per acre,
per time unit

than any other fruit of the fields in the world.

 

If all the strawberries produced in just California
and in just this year alone

were laid from end to end,
they'd wrap around the world fifteen times!

 

Strawberries can be raised in a pot,
on a hill,
on a row, 
in a barrel,
in a stack,
on a rocket,
on a shelf,
in a window,
and in a hurry.

They are eaten raw,
       frozen,
             baked,
                   fried,
                        dried,
                              pureed,
                                    or even boiled.

**

They are great in your Cheerios.  Berries have been featured on packages of Cheerios since 1953, when strawberries were first added to the picture of the bowl of cereal on the box.  In fact, Cheerios have just come out with a Berry Burst Cheerios package featuring dried STRAWBERRIES.

Strawberries are also delicious in ice cream,
with cream,
  on ice cream,
   on cakes,
      in brulee,
         on tarts,

in pie,
on cookies,
  in doughnuts,
   on doughnuts,
     as a sauce,
       as an icing,
           as pudding,
                 as filling,
and in a thousand other variations of these.

Strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges,
and more sugar per ounce than a delicious apple.
 

Furthermore, they are endowed
with greater smacking power;
2.5 cups of strawberries are less fattening
than 10 small jelly beans.
Today there is some proof they can help control some forms of cancer.

Is it any wonder the ancient Romans thought that  strawberries could cure everything from loose teeth to gastritis?   

What more could you ask from a little "berry" ready to pick in just a matter of weeks?

To dine sumptuously, Pick out brightly colored, plump berries that still have their green caps attached and preferably uniform in size. If they feel soft, or look shriveled or moldy choose some other berries.

Store them unwashed until ready to use.  Lay them on, or wrap them in a paper towel inside a moisture-proof container.  Keep them in the fridge  for about 2 days to give them a crisp chill.

Sixteenth-century author William Butler described the strawberry thusly:
"Doubtless God could have made a better berry,

but doubtless God never did."


*


Years ago
strawberries were carved

into cathedral pillars to symbolize perfection.  


 

Today we are just now realizing
how close they are to perfect.

 

Can you say: "AH!"


 

Lin Stone is a writer, author, photographer,
and is now concentrating on producing html works
exclusively for Browzer Books.

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