How a French Spy Gave Birth to THIS Fruit Craze
Strawberries are sweet and tangy delights. They are pretty to look at and have a delightful aroma, making them a popular fruit. Strawberries are often used as an ingredient in desserts, but when did they start being used for this purpose? Just 200 years ago, the strawberries we know today did not exist on Earth. So, how did the strawberries we know today come into existence? Let’s explore five exciting and informative stories about delicious strawberries.
What’s attached to strawberries are not seeds but fruits.
We often think of the tiny things attached to strawberries as seeds. However, these are not seeds but the actual fruits of the strawberry. If you remove a strawberry’s fruit and magnify it under a microscope, you’ll see the strawberry’s pistil attached. The strawberry’s pistil swells up to become the strawberry, leaving the pistil on the outside of the strawberry. You’ll find the real seeds inside if you cut the fruit in half. Therefore, the strawberries we eat are actually clusters of over 200 fruits. The delicious red part we eat is the part that carries the strawberry’s fruits. Meanwhile, the strawberry’s stamens remain intact under the green leafy top of the strawberry.
Strawberries born thanks to spy activities
In 1712, a French spy named Frézier went to Chile to gather intelligence and brought back the native wild strawberries to France. At the time, strawberries were famous in Europe as ornamental plants, not as food, but Frézier thought the large flowers and fruits of Chile’s strawberry trees would be good for selling. However, France’s climate was unsuitable for growing strawberries, so his attempt failed. The strawberries we know today were born from the crossbreeding of wild strawberries from different regions and Chilean wild strawberries by researchers who followed Frézier’s footsteps. The aristocrats began to use these delicious and visually appealing strawberries in various dishes, a tradition that continues today.
Why were strawberries sold in red bowls
Why were strawberries only sold in red bowls? Specifically, strawberries sold in red bowls are a variety called “Janghee,” which has a lower average price and is relatively firm, making it perfect for the red bowl. This container can be quickly filled. Seolhyang, Jukhyang, and Geumsil are more expensive strawberry varieties sold in styrofoam and plastic packs, so that you can distinguish the strawberry variety by the packaging. Janghee is firmer than other strawberries and doesn’t crush easily, and it yields a lot, so it started being packed in red bowls that were easy to fill. However, as modern people’s economic levels have risen and tastes have become more sophisticated, Seolhyang, Geumsil, and Jukhyang, which are more expensive but have both taste and aroma, are being sold more.
A foolproof strawberry tanghulu recipe
Here’s how to make the perfect strawberry tanghulu(a traditional Chinese snack consisting of several rock sugar-coated fruits on a bamboo skewer).
1. Start by selecting strawberries that are shiny and clean. Instead of cutting off the top with a knife, remove the leaves.
2. Dry the strawberries with a kitchen towel and insert a skewer into the center of the top-removed part to prevent it from spinning when applying the syrup.
3. Fill a cup with sugar and level it off to prepare one cup.
4. Prepare 200g (approximately 7 ounces) of sugar.
5. Prepare about 100g (approximately 3.5 ounces) of water.
6. Pour water into the salt, and do not stir. Start by boiling the syrup over low to medium heat, and once it boils, reduce the heat to low.
7. Turn off the heat when the syrup turns golden and boils like malt syrup (takes about 16-19 minutes)
8. Quickly rotate the strawberries to apply the syrup and let the syrup harden for 5-10 minutes in a cool place to finish.
Foods that pair well with strawberries
What foods pair well with strawberries? Firstly, eating strawberries with soy milk can enhance the anti-cancer effects. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins, which help prevent and improve cancer, and the isoflavone ingredient, which is abundant in soy milk, also has excellent effects in preventing cancer. Secondly, strawberries and bell peppers are great for preventing colds and improving skin health. The carotene in bell peppers and the vitamin C in strawberries greatly help prevent colds and oxidation. Lastly, combining strawberries and cheese enhances collagen synthesis and supports bone health. The cheese’s protein vitamins A and B strengthen the skin, bones, and teeth.