IN Britain strawberries are the quintessential summer treat, with their short six-week season coinciding with – if lucky – the brief British summer.
But for those fortunate enough to live in Andalucia, these wonderful fruits can already be found on the shelves.
In fact the strawberry season can start as early as December and runs until June with the peak from February until April.
Interestingly 95 per cent of all Strawberries grown in Spain – the world’s second largest producer of fresh strawberries after the USA – are produced on our doorstep in Huelva.
Each year thousands of immigrants – mainly from Romania, Poland and Morocco – flock to the area to help with the harvest which brings in an annual profit of 320 million euros.
And, as well as boosting the economy; strawberries are fantastic for your health.
In particular they are a great source of vitamin C but they also provide vitamin K, manganese, folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
So what are you waiting for?
Use the berries to garnish salads, stir them into meringues and whipped cream to make Eton mess, sandwich them between sponge cakes or just eat them as they are.
– Choose strawberries that are plump, firm and free of mould and have a deep red colour.
– Unlike other fruits, strawberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked, so be sure to choose the ripest, reddest fruits.
– Be careful not to buy too many all at once as strawberries quickly go off when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
– Don’t wash the berries until you are ready to use them, as washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
– For better flavour, let strawberries come to room temperature before eating them.
– Sprinkle a few drops of balsamic vinegar or a dusting of freshly ground black pepper sparingly over strawberries to enhance their flavour.