22 April 2016

Strawberry Juice

Strawberries have been sold at the market here in Tel Aviv since the end of February. However, now that they are almost at the end of their season there is a glut of strawberries at the market and they are particularly delicious, sweet and juicy.  We tend to wash and hull them (by removing the calyx ~ the green bit on top) and then juice them.  It is the best, healthiest and quickest way to consume 1kg of strawberries.

Strawberry image courtesy of

The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750s via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis, which was brought from Chile by Amédée-François Frézier in 1714.  Cultivars of Fragaria × ananassa have replaced, in commercial production, the woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), which was the first strawberry species cultivated in the early 17th century.
The fruit (which is not a botanical berry, but an aggregate accessory fruit) is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in such prepared foods as preserves, fruit juice, ice creams and milkshakes.  

Health effects

Few studies have directly examined the effects of eating strawberries on human health. However, limited research indicates that strawberry consumption may be associated with a decreased cardiovascular disease risk and that phytochemicals  present in strawberries have anti-inflammatory properties in laboratory studies.   Epidemiological studies have associated strawberry consumption with lower rates of hypertension and inflammation. Certain studies have suggested that strawberry consumption may have beneficial effects in humans such as lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and decreasing the spike in blood sugar after high sugar meals and the spike in blood cholesterol seen after high-fat meals. 


Some people experience an anaphylactoid reaction to eating strawberries.   The most common form of this reaction is oral allergy syndrome, but symptoms may also mimic hay fever or include dermatitis or hives, and, in severe cases, may cause breathing problems.  Proteomic studies indicate that the allergen may be tied to a protein for the red anthocyanin biosynthesis expressed in strawberry ripening, named Fra a1 (Fragaria allergen1).  Homologous proteins are found in birch pollen and apple, suggesting that people may develop cross-reactivity to all three species. 

White-fruited strawberry cultivars, lacking Fra a1, may be an option for strawberry allergy sufferers. Since they lack a protein necessary for normal ripening by anthocyanin synthesis of red pigments, they do not turn the mature berries of other cultivars red.  They ripen but remain white, pale yellow or “golden”, appearing like immature berries; this also has the advantage of making them less attractive to birds.

A glass of fresh strawberry juice.

Here are a selection of recipes using strawberries:

Meringues with clotted cream and strawberries

Eton Mess

Strawberry jam

Strawberry lassi

Summer party gâteau
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