Thursday, 9 June 2011

Plant of the Week; Strawberries

Everyone loves to go sit down outside, have a glass of iced tea or lemonade, all while soaking up some sun and munching on strawberries. Yes, strawberries are the fruit equivalent of summer. They are the perfect topper to that cheesecake, the key ingredient to that smoothie and just simple delicious in a bowl by themselves with a bit of sugar sprinkled over them. There are though two types of strawberries: Garden and wild. The ones you buy in the store are the garden variety while the ones you find while out on a hike are the wild, which though is quite rare. The fruit is much smaller than the garden variety but packs a punch of flavour.The garden variety is larger, still sweet but the taste doesn't hold a candle to wild ones. The garden strawberry originated in France in 1740, when two different variety of strawberries were cross pollinated. Each seed on a strawberry is tiny potential strawberry plant. So, it is possible to plant strawberries from seed. The method in which I use to grow my current patch, is the use of runners. Each plant will send out long 'stems' called runners, with which the end will produce roots, and so produce a new strawberry plant. This method though if used while the fruit is being grown will effect the fruit size so it is good practice to pinch off runners during fruit production. Another method is to buy a dry root. All it is a root, no dirt involved, in which one just plants in the ground. The root grows, becomes a full fledged plant and expands through the use of runners. Strawberry plants though love water, which is especially important when propagating fruit. Last year it rained at least three times a week and I had the best crop ever! With really no work involved. After a plants first year, the quality of the fruit is slightly diminished, and further will diminish over the years. For myself, this is only my second summer in this house so I am still learning the age of my plants. The strawberry fruit themselves have many uses. I, personally, use my patch to make homemade strawberry jams. They can also be frozen or canned whole (not the same as jam) for later use in smoothies, desserts, ice cream, or fresh fruit bowls. My favourite recipe is Jamie Oliver's rice pudding recipe which uses his fresh homemade strawberry jam recipe as a topper to the dessert. Creamy Rice Pudding with the Quickest Strawberry Jam on the Food Network

Happy Homesteading!!

1 comment:

  1. the ones you gave me are doing really really well by the way! i've got around 10 flowers so far and Ollie hasn't eaten then...yet...