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Growing your own strawberries has become particularly popular in recent years - and no wonder. In my household we’re lucky if the berries actually make it in from the garden, and not because the birds get to them first. It’s so tempting to pluck the plump, ripe berries and eat them straight from the plant. I especially enjoy inviting visiting children to head outside and fossick for ripe berries. Invariably they return with pink-stained chins and happy smiles.
Strawberries are planted in mid autumn to early winter in warmer regions and late winter to early spring in cooler regions. These heart-shaped berries don’t require a lot of room to grow, but they are susceptible to the same diseases as potatoes and tomatoes and for this reason they shouldn’t be planted in the same soil as these plants. Try planting strawberries in a hanging basket; they look beautiful and the fruit are wonderfully close at hand. Strawberries should be red, shiny and fragrant when you pick them. Although big strawberries look extra tempting they have a high water content and aren’t as sweet as smaller strawberries. Sadly, strawberries don’t store well. They should be eaten soon after picking unless you freeze them to use in smoothies or other desserts at a later date.
Strawberries are very rich in vitamin C and surprisingly low in sugar. While strawberries are perfectly lovely on their own they become extra special when served as a dessert with icing sugar or cream. They are a great accompaniment with champagne and can be used in fruit salads, flans, ice creams and liqueurs.
These are some of my favourite recipes for strawberries:
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