If there's one thing that excites market-goers this time of year, it's certainly the strawberry. After a winter of root vegetables, the chance to pop a bright red berry in your mouth is hard to resist. But did you know, botanically speaking, strawberries aren't really berries?
The Truth About Strawberries
If you want to get really botanical about berries, science defines a berry as "a fleshy fruit from a single ovary." This is not the case for strawberries (or raspberries, for that matter), although it is true of avocados and pumpkins.
Regardless, strawberries are a wonderful spring treat — a reminder that even warmer weather is on its way. Better yet if we can find one of the smaller, wild versions, like poet Robert Graves writes about in his poem "Wild Strawberries."
Strawberries that in gardens grow
Are plump and juicy fine,
But sweeter far as wise men know
Spring from the woodland vine
A Short(cake) History of Strawberries
Wild strawberries can be found in various regions around the world, but the first garden strawberry was grown in Brittany, France in the 18th century. In the United States, strawberry production dates to the early 1800s.
In the late 1830s, the Massachusetts grower and plant breeder Charles Hovey introduced the Hovey Strawberry, one of the first popular cultivars that helped to develop the New England strawberry industry.
U-Color Berry Patch
Can't get your hands on a fresh batch of strawberries, wild or otherwise? You can color your own. This beautiful illustration (which you can print and color!) comes from Edible Paradise, a coloring book by Jessie Kanelos Weiner that's devoted to seasonal produce.
"When certain foods are reserved for certain times of year, greater taste memories are created," says Kanelos Weiner. And that's exactly why we all love spring strawberries so much. Go forth, pick, and color!
This printable illustration is one of many in Edible Paradise, a coloring book by Jessie Kanelos Weiner devoted to seasonal produce. We're featuring illustrations from the book on The Kitchn every week during the month of April.