This is the time of year that strawberries from California arrive in our local stores; we know that summer is not far away.
The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany France in 1750. It was a cross between a variety from the East coast of North America and another from Chile, South America. The United States is currently the world's largest strawberry producer, followed by Spain.
Strawberries are eaten in large quantities and are delicious on their own, but they are wonderfully improved with whipped cream, ice cream, cake, yogurt or even dipped in chocolate. Strawberries and cream, a popular dessert, is famously consumed at Wimbledon. In Greece they are sprinkled with sugar and then dipped in the local brandy, Metaxa and served as dessert.
Strawberries can be frozen, turned into strawberry pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie, or strawberry shortcake. They can be made into shakes or just plain jam.
The arrival of California strawberries on the West Coast of Canada means that our aromatic, red, juicy and much more flavourful strawberries from the Okanagan Valley are soon to appear. Then we know for certain that summer has arrived.