|SWEETER BRITISH STRAWBERRIES EXPECTED DESPITE HARSH WINTER
The British weather may have tried its best to put a dampener on British crops, but this year’s ‘home-grown’ strawberries are set to be even sweeter and tastier than ever.
British growers and farmers have reported that the short delay to the start of the season, caused by cooler weather, has resulted in stronger plants. This, in turn, will help boost the size of the fruit and sugar levels, making British strawberries sweeter and juicer than normal.
British Summer Fruits, the organisation representing 85 per cent of the growers supplying berries to UK supermarkets, reports that the sweetness of strawberries is measured in degrees Brix (Bx), which represents the density or concentration of sugar in a solution. In the first week of the season, strawberries need to achieve a minimum of seven degrees Bx. This spring strawberry growers are already reporting higher Brix levels, with some samples above 10 degrees Bx.
Growers have also reported an increase in the size of strawberries this year, with fruit up to 15 per cent bigger, deeper punnets are being used to protect the ripe, plump strawberries.
Laurence Olins, Chairman of British Summer Fruits, said: "Strawberries are a British staple of the early summer season. It may have been a later start to the British strawberry season, but there will be a good supply of British strawberries for everyone to enjoy.”
Twenty years ago, poor weather conditions might have meant disaster for commercial strawberry growers, but following decades of investment in protective covers and new varieties, this summer’s strawberry crop is thriving.
Production is expected to exceed last year’s 51,626 tonnes of strawberries supplied to UK supermarkets by members of British Summer Fruits.¹
¹ British Summer Fruits Ltd Supermarket Sales Report, November 2012
² Defra Basic Horticultural Statistics 2012
For more information on British strawberry season, spokespeople from the soft fruit industry or strawberry recipes, please contact:
The Red Brick Road
Tel: 0207 575 7630 / 07885 473 221
Notes to editors –
About Seasonal Berries:
British Summer Fruits is an organisation that represents 85% of berries supplied to UK supermarkets. It funds Seasonal Berries – a year-round campaign that celebrates the seasonality of soft fruits.www.seasonalberries.co.uk
British berry sales have more than doubled in 10 years, reaching £779m in 2012.
• Strawberries were cultivated by the Romans as early as 200 BC. In medieval times strawberries were regarded as an aphrodisiac and soup made of strawberries, borage and soured cream was traditionally served to newly-weds at their wedding breakfast
• In the sixteenth century strawberries were sold in cone-shaped straw baskets, thus becoming one of the earliest packaged foods
• Strawberries were used medicinally to help with digestive ailments, discolored teeth and skin irritations
• Just 9 strawberries (108g) provides your recommended daily amount of vitamin C
• Strawberries are low in calories, sugar and contain no fat so are an ideal everyday health snack to enjoy straight from the punnet or in a variety of recipes
‘Elsanta’: An established Dutch variety, which are large, firm and glossy and widely available in the UK.
‘Sonata’: Slightly juicier and with a sweeter taste than Elsanta, Sonata strawberries are generally bigger and likely to be heart-shaped.
‘Sweet Eve’: Crops well throughout the summer, and higher in natural sugar than other varieties.
‘Driscoll’s Jubilee’: Perfect heart-shaped variety with naturally sweet taste and disitinctive fresh aroma.
‘Ava Rosa’: A Scottish berry launched this year characterised by large, full colour berries with a very sweet flavour.
‘Red Glory’: A high yielding variety producing medium-sized, conical, glossy, orange/red fruit.