“Strawberries that in gardens grow
Are plump and juicy fine,
But sweeter far as wise men know
Spring from the woodland vine.”
~ Emily Dickinson
I didn’t see many wild strawberries this spring because we have a yard full of rabbits. They’ve eaten the buds of my mums, too, and snipped off the impatiens. Local gossip has it that the foxes were becoming too friendly and were shipped out of the neighborhood, so there’s been an explosion in the bunny population. They’re cute little critters and they have to eat, so I’ve tried to be understanding. Besides, the local markets have been overflowing with berries.
I like finding unusual info about ordinary stuff, such as the following facts about strawberries…
1) Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She used 22 pounds per basin. She did not bathe daily.
2) In parts of Bavaria, country folk still practice the annual rite each spring of tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of cattle as an offering to elves. They believe that the elves, who are passionately fond of strawberries, will help to produce healthy calves and abundance of milk in return.
3) The American Indians were already eating strawberries when the Colonists arrived. The crushed berries were mixed with cornmeal and baked into strawberry bread. After trying this bread, Colonists developed their own version of the recipe and Strawberry Shortcake was created.
4) The strawberry is a member of the rose family. (So I suppose it’s okay that Madame Tallien enjoyed bathing in strawberry juice as some folks like to bathe in rosewater.)
5) Ancient Romans believed that strawberries could cure fever and kidney stones and all sorts of other ills.
Check out more strawberry history and lore HERE.
My favorite recipe for strawberry shortcake: Hot biscuits split in two (homemade or from Bisquick), strawberries & sugar simmered until they create a thick, lumpy syrup, a few or a fist full of fresh berries, melted butter, whipped cream, a touch or a tumbler of creme de fraise or Chambord.