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In the wild, strawberry leaf is available in the spring and summer.
Wild strawberry or Virginia strawberry is a perennial herb in the Rose family, botanically named Fragaria virginiana. Its sometimes overlooked leaves are highly nutritious and an important ingredient in natural medicines and cosmetics. This wild species is a scaled down version of the commercial strawberry, with a more concentrated flavor and aroma. When foraging, be aware of the wood strawberry, an edible cousin with similar red berries, but absolutely no flavor.
Wild strawberry leaf comes from a trailing plant that spreads out low to the ground on horizontal runners. The leaves appear in groups of three on hairy stems that are 10-15 cm high. They are deep green with toothed edges and reach 5cm across. Wild strawberry leaves are best foraged in the spring when they are at their aromatic peak. They have fruity strawberry nuances with fresh grassy herbal notes and a mildly astringent finish.
Wild strawberry leaf is exceptionally high in antioxidants, vitamin C, K and a polyphenolic compound called tannin. It also contains ellagic acid which has been proven to have anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties. The extract of Wild strawberry leaf is a vasodilator which can reduce blood pressure. The plant as a whole is an antiseptic and may be used to clean open sores or treat acne.
Wild strawberry leaf is fairly harsh if eaten raw and is best consumed as a tea from either fresh or dried leaves. After steeping for five minutes, the tea may be enjoyed as a caffeine-free beverage or as a tonic to treat digestive ailments. Add brown sugar to the tea for a syrup that adds a clean herbal note to strawberry desserts or a sweet element to salad dressings. Wild strawberry leaf has many of the same flavor affinities as the berry itself, such as almond, marscapone, sour cream, raspberry, melon, orange, vanilla, and balsamic vinegar.
The Blackfoot, Cherokee, Ojibwa and Iroquois Tribes used Wild strawberry leaf as a disinfectant and a treatment for gastrointestinal, kidney and liver problems.
Wild strawberries are native to the United States and currently grow across all of North America. They require full sun and may be found growing along sidewalks, fields, moist ground and edges of wooded areas.
Recipes that include Strawberry Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Outdoor Adventures||Strawberry Leaf Tea|
|Mother Earth Living||Homemade Strawberry Tea|
|Cabinorganic||Wild Strawberry Leaf Tea|
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