It’s difficult to resist a strawberry

Published 7:30 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

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What fruit is the only one that its seeds grow on the outside instead of the inside?

If you are puzzled over that description, here are several clues: It is red and slightly heart-shaped.

Of course, you knew it all the time. It is the strawberry.

Just pop a strawberry straight from the vine into your mouth. Luscious. I love strawberries. Combine them with various ingredients to get strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream, strawberry cake, strawberry pie, or strawberry jam. All these taste good. They look good and smell wonderful. They are pretty, too. Maybe that’s the reason the United States Postal Service chose to put a cluster of strawberries on a bed of green leaves on its 33 cents stamp in 1999.

Way back in the 17th Century, an English writer expressed his feelings about the strawberry this way: ”Doubtless God could have made a better berry but doubtless God never did.”

I find it hard to resist strawberries at roadside stands or in grocery store produce counters. I recall how the sight of pretty, plump strawberries contained in little baskets broke down my résistance. I yielded to temptation. “Are they sweet and delicious?” my husband asked when I took a bowl of sliced strawberries out of the refrigerator. I wrinkled my nose.”No,” I admitted.” I thought you had learned.” I. did.”

I had hoped for the best when I selected the carton of large, pretty strawberries where we were shopping. When I saw them I could almost taste a luscious bite of strawberry shortcake.  Even when local strawberries are not available, Alabamians can choose from shipments as far away as California and as close as Florida because refrigeration keeps them fresh. Would you believe some Ohio growers started shipping strawberries across the nation as early as 1843? They spread ice on top of the crates to keep them fresh.

Some of the berries came from California, the others from Florida at the time I shopped. They all looked and smelled good. Maybe you have better luck, but I seldom find a carton of strawberries from California that measure up to my expectations. I chose the ones from deep down in Florida. The next day I washed and sliced them. I finally got up enough nerve to taste a slice. It was dry, almost tasteless. I sampled another slice from another berry. Same thing. I made a thin syrup and poured it over the berries to enhance the flavor. I left them in the refrigerator for a few hours. Our strawberry shortcake was good, but it was not the delicious dessert I had hoped for when I yielded to temptation at the store.

Now this time I have learned to wait on the local strawberries to come in season. Meanwhile, I try hard to resist the temptation to think that just because those “shipped in” berries are red and beautiful they are tasty and delicious too.