Why it’s a sweet summer for strawberry lovers

There’s been a bumper crop of strawberries in the UK this year. So if you enjoy a sweet and healthy treat, now’s the time to indulge

By Evie Prosser

Think of the quintessential British summer foodstuff and your mind will almost certainly settle upon the strawberry.

    ...there has been a bumper crop of strawberries in the UK, thanks to perfect growing conditions.  

Easily grown, deliciously sweet and pleasingly healthy, the strawberry is a favourite throughout the country.

Whether it’s tennis aficionados nibbling strawberries and cream at Wimbledon (some 27 tonnes are eaten during the championship) or WI members stuffing them into sponge cakes for the summer fete, you’re likely to come across the tasty treat in all manner of places throughout June, July and August.

This year, industry body British Summer Fruits says there has been a bumper crop of strawberries in the UK, thanks to perfect growing conditions.

According to the organisation’s chairman Nicholas Marston, British-grown strawberries are at their very best right now.

“Now is the time for people to buy and enjoy British strawberries,” Mr Marston reports. “The fruit is at its very best and can be bought at super values from all retailers and shops.”

If last year’s sales figures are anything to go by, Mr Marston won’t have to work too hard to persuade people of his case. 133,000 tonnes of strawberries were sold in the UK last year, with shoppers spending £659 million on the fruit.

The berry industry as a whole is worth an estimated £1.4 billion, meaning it makes up about a quarter of the market for British-grown fruit.

Part of the reason could be the extraordinary health benefits of berries. For example, the antioxidants in blueberries are well documented, giving rise to a surge in their popularity in recent years.

And the strawberry is another healthy option, as nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire makes plain: “Not only is the strawberry rich in antioxidants, but the red fleshy part is also abundant in Vitamin C. In fact, eating just nine strawberries (108g) can provide all of your recommended daily Vitamin C intake.”

So there you have it: tasty and nutritious all at the same time. What’s not to love about the summer’s finest fresh fruit?

Three ways to eat strawberries

Strawberries and cream: the classic. Works especially well with Rodda’s Clotted Cream, though some prefer a thick pouring cream that coats every berry. Roughly chop a generous handful of strawberries, chuck them in a clear glass bowl and add as much cream as you can manage. Then find a quiet spot to relish the sweet and creamy flavour combo.

Fresh strawberry and cream Victoria sponge: bake two plain sponges, as you would with a conventional Victoria sponge cake. Whip some cream and spread it generously over the middle of the bottom cake. Thinly slice strawberries and position them over the cream. Place the other sponge on top and sprinkle it with sieved icing sugar. Hey presto – the perfect teatime treat!

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar and black pepper: sounds weird, doesn’t it? But try pouring a half-teaspoon of crushed black peppercorns and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (or vinegar reduction for a stickier texture) on your next bowl of strawberries. These additions intensify the flavour, creating a wonderful taste sensation that is sweet, crisp and surprisingly moreish.

Published: 6 August 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

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