Berry Fresh Month is celebrated every February. It brings the beauty of berries and their nutritional benefits to our attention. The holiday spreads awareness about various berry types, such as blueberries, raspberries, red currants, black currants, and white currants. It also teaches people that berries can be deadly.
History of Berry Fresh Month
Contrary to popular belief, strawberries are not berries. They are members of the ‘Rosaceae,’ or ‘rose,’ family, which includes other fruits like apples, pears, blackberries, raspberries, apricots, and cherries. Unlike blueberries, strawberries are aggregate fruits as they are multiple fruits embedded in a fleshy receptacle. Strawberries were first mentioned in history by the Roman poets Virgil and Ovid in the 1st century. The poets referred to strawberries as an ornamental plant instead of an edible one. However, even before that, people ate wild strawberries — although in small quantities, due to their small sizes, lack of flavor, and toughness.
In the 14th century, the French began transplanting wild strawberries from the forest to their gardens for harvest. By the 16th century, strawberry cultivation had become common and people were using the fruit for medicinal purposes. At the end of the century, the demand for strawberries in England had grown, so English farmers started cultivating the fruit. In 1714, a French spy introduced the Chilean strawberry — Fragaria Chiloensis — to France. Unlike other strawberry species, the Chilean strawberry has fewer but larger flowers and produces larger fruits. Although the strawberry thrived in France, it did not produce fruits due to the climate.
In the mid-18th century, French gardeners in Brest and Cherbourg accidentally pollinated the Chilean strawberry with the Virginia strawberry, giving rise to the modern strawberry. These pollinations of Chilean and Virginia strawberries — Fragaria ananassa — led Antoine Nicolas Duchesne to make discoveries vital to plant breeding science. He published his research on the sexual production of strawberries in 1766. Soon after, several varieties of Fragaria ananassa were produced in England, developing the ancestors of the modern strawberry. These varieties were also bred in Europe and America to improve their taste, hardiness, size, and disease resistance.
Berry Fresh Month timeline
The Roman poets, Virgil and Ovid, make references to strawberries.
The French transplant wild strawberries from the forest to their gardens.
A French spy brings the Chilean strawberry from Chile to France.
French gardeners in Brest and Cherbourg pollinate the Chilean strawberry with the Virginia strawberry.
Berry Fresh Month FAQs
What season are berries ripe?
Berries are usually in season between spring and summer, and some go as far as fall. However, that might vary depending on your region.
How do you keep fresh berries fresh?
There are several techniques for keeping berries fresh. A popular method is to use vinegar, water, and paper towels. Here’s how to do it: Soak your berries in vinegar and water solution for three to five minutes. Then drain the berries using a colander and give them a thorough wash. Dry the berries in a paper towel and store them in a glass or plastic container without a lid.
How long can you keep fresh berries in the fridge?
Berries typically last between three and seven days when stored in a refrigerator.
Berry Fresh Month Activities
Make a mixed berry pie
Mixed berry pie is a popular berry recipe that you can easily make at home to celebrate Berry Fresh Month. Here’s what you need: strawberries, frozen berries, caster sugar, cornflour, finely grated lemon rind, plain flour, icing sugar, unsalted butter, an egg yolk, and chilled water. You will also need an egg, sugar, and whipped cream for the topping.
Plant a berry
Another way to celebrate Berry Fresh Month is to plant a berry in your garden, backyard, or front yard. It could be any berry, depending on your preference.
Go out for a berry treat
Are you hungry for some tasty berry cakes, pies, frozen yogurts, or ice creams? Head to a nearby restaurant and satisfy your hunger. You could also check Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, or UrbanSpoon for some of the best restaurants for berry treats.
5 Unique Facts About Berries
Strawberries and raspberries aren’t actual berries
They are aggregate fruits as they develop from the merger of several ovaries separated in a single flower.
Red when unripe and black when ripe
Blackberries are red when they are unripe and turn black upon ripening.
Batology isn’t what you think
Batology is not the study of bats but blackberries.
The only true blue fruit
Blueberries are the only food that appears blue in nature.
Americans love strawberries
About 94% of American households consume strawberries.
Why We Love Berry Fresh Month
Berries offer health benefits
Berries are some of the most nutritious foods in the world. They have several health benefits, including improved blood sugar, decreased cholesterol levels, and lowered cancer risk. Most berries are also a good source of antioxidants and have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Berries are delicious
Aside from offering a wide variety of nutrients and health benefits, berries are succulent, tasty wonders. They are so delicious that you can add them to everything from cakes and tarts to puddings and pies.
We simply love them
Berries are eaten in every country across the world. They are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Plus, they can be incorporated into various dishes, from confectioneries and baked goods to sweets and pastries.
Berry Fresh Month dates