Strawberry the fruit of love

 Today your advisors  of Mediterranean Diet present you… Strawberry the fruit of Love

“The strawberry grows underneath the nettle
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
Neighbour’d by fruit of baser quality.

(W. Shakespeare, Henry V)

HISTORICAL FACTS of “Strawberry the fruit of love”

Strawberry the fruit of love was protagonist of legends and poems.

The strawberry, as we know it, was imported in modern times from North America into France. A Cherokee Legend said that the strawberries were created and placed on the ground in an attempt to convince the first woman to come back to the first man, after their first big fight. The first woman, moving away in the woods, found himself suddenly surrounded by these plants with their delicate flowers and red fruits, sweet and heart-shaped: eating them she forgot her anger and wished to return from her beloved and share with him a basket of strawberries.

The wild varieties of strawberries were, however, already known since antiquity in Europe: Pliny remembered that the wild strawberry was called “Fragaria vesca” for its soft consistency. In ancient Rome it was considered an aphrodisiac, and at the center of the celebration in honor of Adonis, identified because the tears poured from Venus on her grave.

This fruit during the Middle Ages began to be called “heart fruit“, because of its property to fire up the passions of love.

A first rudimentary technique of cultivation of the plant was applied by the gardeners of Louis XIV, who uprooted from forest wild varieties for reimplantation in the gardens of Versailles. The application of this method remained unchanged until the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the arrival of non-European species began the complete cycle of cultivation.

It was exactly the 1766 when in France, crossing two species of wild American, born the “big” strawberry .

In contemporary times these fruits are suitable to love banquet for color, shape, softness.

STRAWBERRY’S PROPERTIES

Strawberry the fruit of love

Intense aroma and a sweet flavor. It has a deep red color and has a stalk with a small bunch of leaves; the surface of the strawberry is covered by numerous dots of yellow or brown.

Considered from the nutritional point of view a fruit, it is not under the botanical aspect: the fruits true identify themselves in so-called “achenes”, that the seeds of the yellow surface, and the part of “false fruit” is nothing that the enlarged receptacle of an inflorescence.

The strawberry has many health benefits:

1) It makes the skin soft and smooth, it seems that using the leaves for poultices refreshing strawberries are excellent against rosacea.

2) It prevents sunburn, the juice of strawberries is used as an ingredient for compounds with lightening action, softening and revitalizing.

3) Very good for a healthy diet and monitored the dietary fiber present in strawberries helps maintain a regular digestion and makes us feel full.

4) Rich in antioxidants, strawberries contain chemical compounds called phenols. For example the anthocyanins, the particular phenols that are found in abundance in strawberries, recognized to possess potent antioxidant properties within the fruit, which in turn can be absorbed into the body, once digested.

5) Anti-inflammatory properties, the phenols present in strawberries are capable of fighting many inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis.

6) Prevention of cancer, the combination of antioxidants synergistically with anti-inflammatory agents are known to fight the onset of many different forms of cancer.

7) Improve the health of our eyes, different scientific researches state that eat about three servings of strawberries a day can dramatically reduce the risk of eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

8) A huge source of natural vitamin C, can help maintain a low blood pressure, ensure a healthy immune system.

So eat this fruit can only make us well, of course as everything must not exaggerate, but strawberries can only improve our day also saw the kind of spring fruit and charming way. Besides being very tasty, it is a food rich in vitamins, of sugars, potassium and a low sodium content. The red color, the pleasant fragrance and the unmistakable aroma make strawberry fruit welcome especially to children: sweet, but not cloying.

In April appear the first wild strawberries, timid and appreciated by everyone, small and fragrant; aromatic and tasty grow in shady areas or in the undergrowth: are a little hard to find, but so nice to discover!

In the gardens are now cultivated species of strawberries, different in size, good and fragrant. Certain qualities, such re-bloom, flower and fruit from spring to autumn. Today there are large fruited varieties and grown in various parts; there is also the “strawberry tomato” from the fruits very big and tasty.

If you want to cultivate strawberries and space is short, you can plant the vine variety, which, placed in good exposure, give fruit from June to autumn. They are ideal temperate climate and a soil cool and permeable.

The best time for harvesting the fruit is when they have reached full maturity and are red. It is better to consume them quickly.

Strawberry the fruit of love

NUTRITIONAL FACTS of “Strawberry the fruit of love”

Nutritional values per 100 grams:

Water 90,5%
Protein 0,9 g
Lipids 0,4 g
Carbohydrates 5,3 g
Sugars 5,3 g
Energy 113 kcal
Vitamin B 10,02 mg
Vitamin B2 0,04 mg
Vitamin PP 0,50 mg
Vitamin C 54 mg
Sodium 2 mg
Potassium 160 mg
Iron 0.8 mg
Calcium 35 mg
Phosphorus 28 mg

Why not take advantage and start following a healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients important for our well-being? Strawberries then not only as end of the meal, but present on the table from beginning to end: there are delicious recipes that use the result in unexpected ways!

The strawberry is widely used in confectionery, but since the eighties, with the spread in Italy of Nouvelle Cuisine, which has upset the traditional concepts on associations aromatic, this fruit has had some luck also as part of the risotto and a sweet and sour sauce created to accompany roasts and meat dishes.

Strawberries, especially wild or wood, are also used in herbal medicine. The rhizomes and leaves collected during flowering and then dried in the shade are used as components of herbal tea, while the dried fruit are used in tea blends. For some time also are used in perfumery extracts of fruit to give a fresh, natural compositions and among the most widely used is precisely to strawberry!

And now, we propose you an original way to eat strawberry the fruit of love…

STRAWBERRY AND STRACCHINO RISOTTO

Ingredients

200 g  fresh strawberries
1 shallot
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVO)
180 g Carnaroli rice
1/2 glass of white wine
700 ml vegetable broth
100 g Stracchino

Instructions

Wash the strawberries, chopped shallots and sweat it in a pan with oil. Add rice and toast a few minutes, then pour in the white wine and, when it is evaporated, pour the broth slowly continuing to mix, until cooked rice.

About 5 minutes before the end of cooking, add the chopped strawberries, mix and add a little broth.

When the rice is almost cooked put together the soft cheese, then mix gently a couple of minutes before turning off the fire. Let stand a few minutes, then serve.

Enjoy strawberry the fruit of love !

Sources:

http://www.benessere.com/dietetica/arg00/proprieta_fragola.htm

http://www.berries4u.com/history.htm

http://worldrecipes.expo2015.org/it/ricetta-risotto_alle_fragole_e_stracchino_9699.html

The team of Mediterranean Diet invites you to the next article to find out the benefits of the Mediterranean diet recipes.
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