Sunday, 7 September 2008

Les fraises des bois

An Autumn chill may be in the morning air but I'm still eating strawberries from my garden. I have several fraises des bois plants that have colonized the ground between my red currant bush and raspberry canes. I guess while mine should correctly be called fraises de jardin, they are also known as wild or alpine strawberries, that's why they do so well in Toronto, they don't mind the cold. Whatever you call them they are delicious. Their fragrance is intense and their flavour mimics strawberry jam balanced by a touch of acidity. I first tasted them in France where they are commonly served with crème fraîche and a sugar shaker. They appear early in the summer and stay in the markets late into the autumn. They are always expensive, and I now know why. The plants are not prolific, less than half a dozen tiny berries a day from my good sized patch. This photograph shows a day's harvest, but I hadn't touched my plants for a few days so there was everything from overripe soft berries to barely red ones. And as you can see the berries are tiny, the largest is no bigger than the nail of my smallest finger.

Mixed together, they were a perfect mouthful . Their heady fragrance intensifying the taste and keeping summer alive.
Read more about strawberries, the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside.

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