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The Strasberry is small, approximately the size of a raspberry, and almost perfectly round. Its deep red color is richer than an ordinary strawberry and its exterior seeds are deeply inset in to its surface. Its inner flesh is also deep red, intensely sweet and pleasantly tart with a rich juice content.
Strasberries are available in the spring through early winter, with peak season in early summer.
Although the Strasberry has the appearance of a strawberry and raspberry cross, it actually has the genetic make-up of pure strawberry. The name may be misleading, but it is not a real hybrid fruit, and most likely a wild strawberry variety that has naturally developed some raspberry-like qualities. It is a decedent of Fragaria chiloensis from Chile and the Fragaria virginiana from North America, the parents that also give us the present day strawberry, Fragaria ananassa.
Like traditional strawberry varieties, the Strasberry is rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamins B and C.
The Strasberry can be used in the same manner as ordinary strawberries. They are considerably more delicate and usually harvested with the calyx, or leaf and stem, still intact. Gently wash the berries in a basin of water and allow them to dry thoroughly in a single layer, as they are prone to developing mold. Strasberries are excellent in sweet and savory applications, raw or cooked. They can be eaten fresh out of hand whole, sliced, pureed, cooked down into a compote, syrup or glaze and used within ice creams, gelatos, granitas, sorbets and cocktails. Complimentary pairings include, vanilla, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, watermelon, cream, yogurt, ginger, brown sugar, chiles, bacon, cheeses such as blue cheese, feta and chevre, and herbs such as basil, mint, lemon verbena, fennel and lavender.
The Strasberry has a 100 year old history, originating in South America in the 1900s but never reaching popular demand. It has recently been reintroduced to the market by Hans de Jongh of Beekers Berries in the Netherlands, but remains a niche plant due to its low yields and particularly delicate cultivation needs. The Strasberry thrives in manure rich soil that can hold a high water content without feeling too wet. Since the plant is not capable of self-pollination, it must be planted within close proximity to ordinary strawberry plants.