Strawberries have grown wild for millennia in temperature regions throughout the world. They began being cultivated sometime before the Christian era and were highly prized by many ancient Romans. Yet, after the fall of Rome, they seemed to have lost their favor until they reemerged in Europe in the Middle Ages. During this time, they began to be prized again, more so for their medicinal qualities than for their culinary value. Cultivation techniques of the European varieties, which were much smaller than the American varieties, were advanced at this time, although the resulting fruits were not as sweet and fragrant as the strawberries of today, and therefore, they did not readily gain widespread popularity.

It was not until the 18th century, when coincidence and the workings of Nature's mysteries coincided, that strawberries developed into the luscious fruit we know them to be and began to be more widely appreciated. In 1714, a French engineer sent to Chile and Peru to monitor Spanish activities in these countries "discovered" a strawberry native to this region that was much larger than those grown in Europe. He brought many samples back to France, which were subsequently planted. These plants did not originally flourish well until a natural crossbreeding occurred between this species and a neighboring North American strawberry variety that was planted nearby in the field. The result was a hybrid strawberry that was large, juicy and sweet, and one that quickly grew in popularity in Europe.

The strawberry, like many other perishable fruits at this time, remained a luxury item only enjoyed by the wealthy until the mid-19th century. Once railways were built and more rapid means of transportation established, strawberries were able to be shipped longer distances and were able to be enjoyed by more people. The strawberry is now the most popular berry fruit in the world, with over 600 varieties available. Currently, the United States, Canada, Poland, France, Italy, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are among the largest commercial producers of strawberries, with countries like Argentina, Chile and China rapidly increasing production.

Strawberries are very rich in Vitamin C, Manganese, folates (B complex, folic acid), iodine and potassium and are a good source of dietary fiber. 1 cup of strawberries provides 135% of a person's daily Vitamin C requirement.

Strawberries are also a great phytonutrient loaded fruit, containing such potent anti oxidants as anthocyanins and ellagitannins, These phenol types of compounds make strawberries an excellent heart healthy fruit, an anti-cancer fruit and an anti inflammatory fruit.

Encore Fruit Marketing can provide an excellent source of IQF strawberry to help consumer products deliver one of the 5 A Day fruit servings.

IQF strawberry is carefully processed from fresh, ripened strawberries to provide the essential nutrition and color, in a convenient, ready to use ingredient form for processed beverage and food applications. IQF strawberry is an excellent ingredient to add a fruit serving to your retail label for beverages, cakes, pies, pastries, sauces, jellies and other processed foods like nutrition bars and snacks.

Contact Encore Fruit Marketing today for product samples and information on IQF strawberry at www.encorefruit.com or Click Here to use our convenient Contact Form.