For many people, especially in the North, strawberry is THE summer berry. Who wouldn’t remember from childhood picking those red, juicy and sweet berries on a careless sunny summer day and eating them until the stomach is full?
The Finns seem to have a special place in their hearts for strawberries and it is by far the most beloved delicacy of the midsummer. In the North, the strawberry season is short but sweet, lasting about a month during June and July. Therefore we go all out during this sweet season: the amount of strawberry kiosks only matches the amount of saunas in Finland in the summer and strawberries can be found in almost every summer dish. Though the season to enjoy fresh strawberries is limited, luckily they can be preserved and enjoyed in many other forms around the year.
The journey of strawberry to the favorite berry of the Finns
Strawberry has grown wild in Nordic nature throughout the ages, being available for everyone roaming in nature. The wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca) grow along trails, roadsides, hillsides, meadows and woodland edges. Wild strawberries give strong yet sweet little berries which people have consumed already back in the Stone Age. Wild strawberries and their leaves were also valued as medicine in the 18–19 th centuries, used for example to treat gout, diarrhea and various rashes.
The Chilean strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis), a type of cultivated strawberry, was brought to Europe in the 18th century from Chile. This species gave big berries contrary to the small wild strawberry. The Chilean strawberry was eventually hybridized into the modern garden strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) which gave good crops. The cultivation of strawberries enabled bigger production which made it available for the masses and really popularized the berry.
The joy of picking (or eating?) strawberries.
Today strawberries are cultivated in areas covering over 4000 hectares in Finland. Strawberries are also a popular plant to be cultivated in private summer cottages. Strawberries thrive in the Nordic climate where temperatures don’t typically rise too high in the summer. The warm summer days and cool nights increase the sweetness of the berry.
5 good reasons to eat strawberries
Strawberries are not only delicious but truly healthy as well. They contain plenty of vitamin C, fiber, folate and phenolic compounds which all provide pretty impressive health benefits.
1. Strawberries are excellent for the immune system
Strawberries contain even more vitamin C (60 mg/100 g) than oranges (36,7 mg/100 g). One cup of strawberries is enough to fulfill the daily intake of vitamin C which is essential for the immune system.
Strawberries are also an excellent source of folate. Folate and vitamin C together help to reduce fatigue and support the function of the normal immune system.
2. Strawberries are good for the gut
Strawberries contain plenty of fiber which is good for digestion. Foods which are rich in fiber may also help to keep type 2 diabetes at bay.
3. Strawberries contain plenty of antioxidants
Strawberries contain many polyphenols which reinforce the defensive mechanisms of the body and function as antioxidants. Research has shown polyphenols to also help with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. The red color of strawberry is due to anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants.
4. Strawberries are good food for weight watchers
Though strawberries are sweet, they contain very little energy, only 45 calories per 100 g. They also have a low glycemic index which keeps the blood sugar level stable. Therefore strawberries are a perfect treat for those who wish to watch their weight.
5. Strawberries are simply delicious!
It has to be mentioned, though it is stating the obvious: strawberries are delicious. The sweet flavor of strawberry is the result of alpha-hydroxy acids, minerals, polyphenols and sugars. The level of sweetness varies between different cultivars of strawberries.
Strawberries go with sweet and salty
Strawberries are an excellent addition to any meal of the day. As with berries usually, strawberries are best to be eaten fresh. A classic and effortless summer dessert in the North is fresh strawberries with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or ice cream. Strawberries are also the key component to many summer pastries, such as the brita cake (a meringue-based cake filled with whipped cream and strawberries). And who would eat waffles without strawberry jam?
Strawberry cake is the number one summer dessert.
Strawberries are not only for the sweet dishes but they also give a fresh finishing touch to salty foods, such as pizzas and salads. Strawberries are an excellent companion especially for feta cheese, balsamic vinegar and pepper.
Strawberries are easy to preserve and to enjoy all year round. Strawberries can be frozen and used for example in smoothies or dessert fillings. Strawberries can also be dried or ground into powder that can be added to yogurt, porridge or smoothie. Freeze-dried strawberries are an excellent alternative to fresh strawberries, as freeze-drying preserves the nutrients of strawberries well.
We at Arctic Pure also love strawberries. That is why we have compiled a nice selection of strawberry products all made from the sweet Finnish strawberries. Get to know the selection!