Add the perfect mix of sweet and creamy to your celebrations this National Strawberries and Cream Day, which is held each year on May 21. Fresh strawberries and cream is a great treat to indulge in on a hot day. Plus, as these lovely red berries are in season in May, it is also National Strawberry Month.
History of National Strawberries and Cream Day
Strawberries have been traced back to the Roman Empire. Ancient Romans believed this fruit alleviated symptoms of melancholy, fainting, inflammation, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, attacks of gout, as well as diseases of the blood, liver, and spleen. However, food historians think the Greeks knew about strawberries even before this.
The fruit was also a symbol of wealth and luxury in Victorian England. As they were a perishable food, strawberries were only available in season, increasing their demand. After evolving into a luxury, they began to be served during afternoon tea among the wealthy.
History also tells the tale of how this fruit’s harvest and availability coincided with the Wimbledon tournaments, which is as much about strawberries and cream as it is about tennis. While we still don’t know exactly how this dessert became such an integral part of Wimbledon, some sources credit King George V as the one who introduced this delicious treat to the tennis tournament. Some believe the seasonality and popularity of these red berries played a part in it becoming Wimbledon’s snack of choice.
As for how this quintessentially British dish came to be, stories of its origin say Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a close confidant to King Henry VIII, was the brains behind it. King Henry VIII’s court fed approximately 600 hungry lords and ladies twice a day. The chef there came up with the idea to pair sweet strawberries and clotted cream together in a dessert that did not require cooking, and voila, a delicious treat was born! Another version of this story says Cardinal Wolsey mixed these two ingredients at a royal banquet, and whatever the royals ate instantly became fashionable. It was even customary for newlyweds to eat strawberries and cream for their wedding breakfast!
National Strawberries and Cream Day timeline
According to rumor, strawberries and cream are first served together by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey at a banquet during Henry VIII's reign.
Tudor traveler Andrew Boorde publishes an ode to this dish, saying, “Rawe crayme undecocted, eaten with strawberyes or hurtes (whortleberry, bilberry) is a rurall mannes blanket. I have knowen such blankettes hath put men in jeoperdy of theyr lyves.”
What we now call the 'garden strawberry' is first cultivated in this period, in Brittany, France.
200 spectators at Wimbledon court are offered strawberries and cream.
British retail company Tesco launches a strawberry and clotted cream sandwich, made of slices of berries between two cream-layered pieces of white poppy seed bread, with a dollop of strawberry jam — this is no longer on the market.
National Strawberries and Cream Day FAQs
Is there a National Strawberry Day?
Each year, on February 27, America celebrates National Strawberry Day.
What months are strawberries in season?
As it is grown in varied locations around the world, strawberries are said to be in season from January to November.
Are strawberries hybrid?
A strawberry is actually a multiple fruit that is many tiny individual fruits embedded into one. Cultivated strawberries, which are hybrids of two parent species, can adapt to different weather and growth conditions.
What is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day?
National Strawberry Ice Cream Day is celebrated on January 15, to pay tribute to one of the choicest flavors of ice cream.
How To Celebrate National Strawberries and Cream Day
Make it, of course!
Cook a special strawberry and cream dessert your way. Eat it for breakfast, lunch, or even tea. If you want to mix things up further, you can add a little granola for texture, drizzle some chocolate sauce on top, flavor your whipped cream with amaretto liqueur, or even sprinkle some brown sugar on top. You can even channel your inner chef and create a trifle with alternating layers of strawberry, cream, and sweet pastry.
Read up on the history
This day gives us a great chance to learn more about the strawberry and how this tempting treat came to be. Reading about the stories that (maybe) led to the creation of this dish, we see how cuisines from around the world can eliminate boundaries and borders.
Learn the different ways strawberries can be used
Preserves! Jams! And much more … this one fruit can be turned into many versatile dishes to satisfy every sweet craving you ever had. Save some for celebrating National Strawberries and Cream Day, while the rest can be used in multiple different ways, as per your needs (or the demands of your taste buds).
5 Fun Facts About Strawberries
The only fruit with seeds on the outside
A single strawberry has around 200 seeds, and each one has the genetic potential to become a new variety — that’s why breeders can develop so many varieties.
They herald the spring
Strawberries ring in the spring season — in a way, they are the first fruit to ripen during this season.
They give your workout a little boost
Strawberries are rich in nitrates, and a study shows people who ate such foods before exercising burned 100 more calories than those who did not.
They help your teeth look good too!
The fruity acids in these berries help remove stains, which can help whiten your teeth.
They are all over the world
These berries are grown around the world and boast more than 600 variants.
Why We Love National Strawberries and Cream Day
Ode to the versatile fruit
We use this day as another excuse to worship this summer fruit. Refreshingly sweet (and sometimes a teeny bit tart), strawberries mixed with clotted and sour cream are a match made in heaven. We would happily celebrate every day as Strawberries and Cream Day if we could. Not only do they tickle our taste buds, but strawberries also bring us so many health benefits. From boosting immunity to increasing HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering blood pressure, strawberries provide us with an array of health benefits.
This day promotes in-season eating
This day is celebrated in a month when these berries are in season, promoting sustainability and better consumer habits. Not only is in-season produce better for your health — a strawberry grown in May tastes much richer than one artificially ripened in another season — it also helps fulfill your body's needs as per the season's requirements. Plus, buying local is great for the environment, too. Think of how much fuel emissions you are reducing when you buy food that did not have to travel very far to get to you!
It makes us happy
Popping these sweet and sometimes tart red fruits into our mouths is tantamount to a taste of happiness. Really! Strawberries are very rich in vitamin C, which is responsible for the production of endorphins in our brain, the hormone that makes you feel happy.
National Strawberries and Cream Day dates