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STRAWBERRY INFORMATION AND FACTS

Courtesy of The South Carolina Department of Agriculture

Per Capita Consumption of Strawberries (National Average) is about 4.5 pounds per person per year.

SC has a population of about 4 million people multiplied times the per capita consumption national average of 4.5 pounds of strawberries per person, and the assumption is that South Carolinians consume an average of 18 million pounds of strawberries every year. That's berry much!!!

Strawberry Demographics

In 1998, 93.7 percent of households surveyed in the United States reported consuming fresh strawberries, up from 85.9 percent in 1982. Non-user households declined from 14.1 percent in 1982 to 6.3 percent in 1998.

Strawberry Consumption Preferences

The most noteworthy characteristic of the heavy strawberry consumer is the every day approach to the consumption of strawberries. "Strawberries are a fruit I could eat every day," according to 83.5 percent of heavy strawberry users versus 55.6 percent of light users; "If local strawberries were available year round, I would buy them year round," (85.5 percent compared to 57.8 percent). "I always have strawberries in the home during the season," according to 82 percent of heavy users versus 34.9 percent of light users.

Eating strawberries whole or sliced continued to grow as the most frequent way strawberries are eaten. Other popular uses include an ingredient in shortcakes and pies, or as an ice cream topping.

Strawberry Personality Traits

Households surveyed were asked to describe a person who liked strawberries and a person who did not. The answers showed a very positive personality for the strawberry lover. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said a strawberry lover is health conscious, 12 percent said they are happy, fun-loving, out-going smart, intelligent, nice, pleasant or normal. On the other hand, the respondents described a person who doesn't like strawberries as sour, unhappy, weird, strange, boring or dull.

What's the best way to store strawberries?

For strawberries to stay fresh do not wash them right away. Store them in a large container with a dry paper towel at the bottom. Separate the berries by layering them with paper towels to maximize freshness. Just before using, wash strawberries with the caps attached under a gentle spray of cool water. For best flavor, allow strawberries to reach room temperature before serving.

Can I freeze strawberries?

In a saucepan, mix equal amounts of sugar and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool the mixture completely. Measure one cup of stemmed and sliced strawberries into a pint sized freezer bag.

Pour one-half to two-thirds of a cup of the sugar water mixture into the bag... just enough to completely cover the strawberries. Seal and freeze the bag in a single layer. Because the moisture content of strawberries varies throughout the season, it's recommended that home frozen strawberries be used in beverages and sauces, not in recipes where liquid variations could make a difference. (Commercially frozen strawberries are consistent in texture and density.)

How Many Strawberry Seeds?

On the average, there are 200 tiny seeds in every strawberry.

Do Small Strawberries Taste Better Than Large Ones?

Flavor is influenced by growing conditions (i.e., weather), stage of ripeness when harvested, and the variety. Size is not a factor in determining flavor.

How Much Vitamin C is in Strawberries?

Eight medium-sized strawberries contain 140% of the U.S. RDA for Vitamin C. In addition, strawberries are good sources of folic acid, potassium and fiber. Studies have shown that expectant mothers should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to help prevent neural tube birth defects. Potassium and fiber are fundamental parts of a healthy diet. Best of all, strawberries are also fat-free and low in calories.

Strawberry Lore & Legend

Legend has it we can thank clever children for naming of the sweet red strawberry. After picking the fruit, children strung them on glass straws and sold them "by the straw." "Straw of berries" are now sold as "baskets of berries," but we think we'll still call them strawberries.

Another theory is that the name represents the spreading nature on the plant runners which are strewn, or anciently "strawed," over the ground. The English "strawberry" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "streoberie," not spelled in the modern fashion until 1538.

In provincial France, strawberries were regarded as an aphrodisiac of the highest quality. Newlyweds traditionally were served a soup of thinned sour cream, strawberries, borage (a European herb whose flavor is reminiscent of cucumber) and powdered sugar.

The second wife of Henry VIII, Queen Anne Boleyn (1507-36), had a strawberry-shaped birthmark on her neck. Unfortunately, some claimed this fact proved she was a witch.

The strawberry is recognized as representing absolute perfection in the Victorian language of flowers.

Medieval stonemasons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals, symbolizing perfection and righteousness. During the same time period, strawberries were served at important state occasions and festivals to ensure peace and prosperity.

Sacred to the both Goddess of Love and the Virgin Mary, strawberries boast a long, dramatic history. "Doubtless God could have made a better berry," wrote William Butler, "but doubtless God never did."

Ever eaten a double strawberry? Legend holds that if you break it in half and share it with a member of the opposite sex, you will soon fall in love with each other.

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