Strawberries were cultivated by the Romans as early as 200 BC.
In medieval times strawberries were regarded as an aphrodisiac and soup made of strawberries, borage and soured cream was traditionally served to newly-weds at their wedding breakfast.
In the sixteenth century strawberries were sold in cone-shaped straw baskets thus becoming one of the earliest packaged foods
The season begins mid-April with British glasshouse production.
Plants are dormant until February when they are ‘woken up’ and prompted into growth with a little heat and supplementary lighting to fool the plants into thinking they are already into long warm days.
By early March the first flowers are emerging and by the second week of April the first fruits can be picked.
Peak production occurs from the end of April until mid-May.
The same cycle begins again in late July/early August to enable the fruit to be harvested from mid-September right through until mid-December.
Production of tunnel-protected fruit begins in mid-May and extends to outdoor main crop in June.
The process continues and in the autumn strawberries are again protected from bad weather and frosts so that consumers can enjoy British fruit right through until December.
The best known and most popular variety of strawberry is Elsanta. It has excellent flavour, shelf life and quality and is an attractive glossy berry
100g strawberries (about 10)
77mg vitamin C (192% RDA)
20mg folic acid (10% RDA)
0.06mg vitamin B6 (9% RDA)
They contain more vitamin C than oranges, are high in fibre, low in calories and a good source of folic acid.
Blackberries grow throughout the world and the fruit has been known in the past by many names, including brambleberries, brumblekites and lawers.
There is evidence that blackberries were eaten in Britain in Neolithic times and were surrounded by superstitions.
In the south west of England it was believed that the first blackberry spotted growing each year would banish warts.
There are two distinct types of blackberry, the European and the North American.
The North American types tend to fruit earlier in the summer and the combination of the two help to give a consistent supply of blackberries across the season.
Most varieties of blackberries have canes that produce thorns, but some of the modern varieties, such as Loch Ness, are thornless.
59g blackberries (about 10 blackberries)
8mg vitamin C (19% RDA)
Good source of folate and vitamin E. Studies show that blackberries may reduce the risk of heart disease and inhibit colon cancer.
Raspberries probably originated in Eastern Asia and it was not until the seventeenth century that the fruit became popular.
By the eighteenth century cookery writers were devising recipes using the fruit for raspberry wine and vinegar, sweets and jams.
Raspberries were also used as a cure for sore eyes and throats and to cleanse the teeth.
Scotland is famous for its raspberry growing and in the late fifties raspberries were taken from Scotland to Covent Garden on a steam train known as the Raspberry Special.
Raspberries are commercially grown for two main markets, the fresh market or for processing.
Glasshouse raspberries produce the earliest and latest crops of fruit but no single variety dominates the market since a combination of many varieties allows a consistent supply throughout the season.
60g raspberries (about 15 raspberries)
19mg vitamin C (48% RDA)
High in antioxidant vitamin C and dietary fibre.
Lots of research has been done into health benefits of blueberries.
They contain antioxidants, which help neutralise harmful by-products of the metabolism called "free radicals". These free radicals have been linked to the development of cancer and age related diseases.
Antioxidants are believed to be the active component. Prevention of urinary tract infection, such as cystitis (similar cranberries).
Blueberries may reduce the build-up of the so called "bad" cholesterol that contributes to cardiovascular disease.
British blueberries are available in small quantities from June – August.
Chile, Argentina and Poland have become important producers during the British winter as they have warmer weather conditions, sun and a high chill factor which is needed to produce the Northern Highbush blueberry – the most widely planted commercial blueberry type.
125g of blueberries contains the following:
15% of our daily recommended vitamin C.
an essential antioxidant, giving enhanced immunity against disease,
promoting healing and keeping gums healthy.
14% of our daily recommended dietary fibre.
Keeps our digestive system in good working order.
7.5ug folic acid.
An essential acid for the development of nervous system in the unborn child
Beautiful Bountilful Berries