Strawberries


Features

The strawberry is a plant that belongs to the perennial category and is characterized by having particularly small dimensions: in fact, this plant can reach a maximum height of 15-20 centimeters and it is a species that comes from the European continent, but also from Asia and North America.

There strawberry plant it has a peculiar characteristic, namely that of creating rather small tufts of basal leaves: the leaves draw support from the presence of the stems, which are also particularly thin.

The leaves of the strawberry are characterized by a typically oval shape and by the fact of having an intense green color, which lightens as you go down to the bottom of the page.

During the spring season and also during the last days of the summer, the strawberry plant it is able to release different flowers, obviously characterized by extremely small dimensions, which can count on five petals with a typically round shape, with a white color, in some cases with pink streaks.

Precisely in the period between spring and summer, the strawberry plant it produces its characteristic fruits, small and dotted with seeds: wild strawberries can be eaten safely and are often also used for making liqueurs and jams, but obviously there is also frequent use in herbal medicine.

As for the crops, however, it is preferred to focus on different varieties of fragaria, such as the one called ananassa, which has much larger fruits and is characterized by the fact that it is a hybrid derived from species from North America and of the Old Continent.

This particular species is characterized, first of all, by the fact of having rather large fruits, without forgetting the presence of hermaphrodite flowers; in any case, all over the world, there are a large number of hybrid varieties, which are grown and grown above all for the production of fruits that can then be consumed directly at the table, but also to be used within the various companies canning.


Exposure and watering

There strawberry plant it is characterized by its excellent development within all those rather cool environments: strawberries must be placed in a shaded or semi-shaded space. In any case, these are species that tolerate the cold very well, although they can certainly suffer repercussions when exposed during rather cold winter seasons and the drop in temperatures below freezing can certainly cause the drying of the whole aerial part of the plant, but don't worry, since it will be able to regrow during the following spring season.

There are also several species of strawberry that grow wild in the woods of various regions of Italy.

As for watering, it is necessary to emphasize that, in the spring season, strawberry plants can be irrigated constantly and frequently: it becomes an operation of fundamental importance, especially in the event of prolonged periods of drought. During the summer season, in most cases, the advice is to avoid watering the strawberry plants too frequently, often suspending watering completely, in such a way as to preserve the health of all those plants that have been planted. for several years now.

Strawberries are also able to survive even limited periods of drought, but only if they already have a few years of life behind them: in fact, the younger plants, after being planted, must receive watering quite frequently. also abundant, so that the development of this species can be as rapid as possible. It is also important to always keep in mind that strawberry plants must always be watered by letting the soil dry out before proceeding with the next irrigation.

As for the soil, strawberry plants have the particular characteristic of developing very well within all those rather soft and fresh soils, also characterized by a good level of humidity (like that found in the subsoil). It is also important that the soil contains a considerable amount of organic substances inside it: indeed, in most cases, it is always suggested to insert organic fertilizer (it is essential to make sure that it is well matured) every year. .

To cultivate a plant like strawberries in the best way, the advice is to choose a soil that is subacid (with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, despite being able to withstand a value up to 7, 5 within an excellent agricultural land).

The optimal cultivation of a strawberry plant provides for the use of a fair amount of water, although it must occur constantly throughout its crop cycle, especially during the post-transplant phase and when the fruit will come into production.

When you need to insert a certain amount of organic substances and fertilizers, all you have to pay attention to are the quantities of both elements to be used: above all, it will be important to make an assessment in relation to fertility. and to the endowment of the land, but also on the basis of what the variety of strawberries requires and the type of cultivation that is used.

It is also important to remember what the distance between the rows of strawberry plants should be, at least equal to about 125 centimeters. In order to usefully increase production, improve the harvesting phase and also reduce the danger that strawberry plants can be attacked by external agents, soilless cultivation techniques are used.

The period in which, in most cases, the strawberry harvest takes place varies, as can be understood, in relation to the crop that you choose, but also on the basis of the decision between protected crop or open field cultivation.

Naturally, there are numerous details and elements that can affect the strawberry harvest period, including the latitude and variety of the latter.

The harvest of those strawberries that derive from plants stored in the fridge and coming from uniform varieties usually takes place during the autumn season; as regards, on the contrary, the remontant varieties, this occurs in the period between spring and autumn.

The production of strawberries obviously varies in relation to the type of crop, but also on the basis of other elements, such as the variety considered. Of course there are different outlets for the production of strawberries: they range from simple consumption (buying them in the markets) to freezing, but a large part is also reserved for the canning industry, since it is used for the production of jams, syrups, ice creams and many other products.


Variety

The varieties of strawberries can be divided into uniferae (they are also called with the term of short diurnal or non-re-flowering): in these cases it is essential to underline how the diversification of flowers takes place starting from the month of September until practically the moment in which there are the first frosts. The fruits ripen during the spring season and this phase lasts about a month; finally, it is necessary to underline how some species that are part of this variety can also become bifers or re-flowering.

The variety defined as bifera or remontant has never been able to count on a good development at an industrial level, since the only use that has been made of it concerns family crops, especially due to the fact that they are extremely slow to reproduce.

The multiplication of this remontant variety occurs by division of the stock and, in a few cases, however, by stolons.

As for the third variety, defined as day neutral (in some cases they are also called indifferent photos), which is characterized by diversifying flower buds with every type of brightness, as long as the thermal period is kept under control.


Strawberries: Multiplication and Diseases

The rhizomes of the strawberry plant have the particular characteristic of producing a large number of creeping stolons: at the end of each of these elements, another plant will be born, which can then be removed from the mother plant and then cultivated as a single plant.

In order to carry out an effective production of fruits and to also guarantee an optimal development of the plants, the suggestion is always to pay particular attention, quite frequently, to the uprooting of the new seedlings that are produced from year to year.

In most cases, this type of plants is not affected by diseases, but in some cases it is the leaves that represent the part that is most exposed to these dangers: in fact, they can be the object of an attack by rust or by the bad white.

The fruits of the strawberry plant, on the other hand, are able to attract, due to their flavor and aroma, a large number of insects and animals, which love to gnaw on the various strawberries. In reality, insects do not represent the only danger for the fruits of the strawberry plant, since even snails and some species of birds particularly love to gnaw and consume these fruits.

When you have to face the danger deriving from a continuous attack of snails, insects and birds, the advice is to cover the rows of strawberries, using simple nets, which can represent an excellent solution against this threat. .



Varieties of garden strawberries - how to choose the best?

Strawberries or strawberries - their main differences

Every gardener and gardener at least once in his life thought about growing sweet and healthy berries on his site. But a large number of strawberry species baffles even an experienced farmer, and yet there are still delicious ones. variety of garden strawberries. Ordinary strawberries are classified as a type of strawberry, referring to the rich Rosaceae family.Garden strawberries are dioecious plants, which means the presence of male and female bushes that require special pollination. The berries of a garden strawberry type are larger and sweeter than their strawberry counterparts.

The best varieties of strawberries: criteria for evaluating plants

Prominent experts in the field of growing useful berries point out that garden strawberry varieties differ in the method and purpose of their use. Gardeners are offered more than 3,000 species of this plant, so in order to choose the best option, it is worth analyzing the needs of the family and the ultimate goals of growing strawberries. In our country, dessert varieties and cultures are common for further processing. Sweeter berries offer types of desserts, and for jams and compotes they use dense, less sweet fruits, specially created for comfortable processing and transport. An important aspect will also be the moment of ripening of the crop: there are early, medium and late varieties.

The best varieties of strawberries

In order to always have a tasty berry on the table, it is recommended to choose several different plants. Strawberry varieties make it possible to plan continuous fruiting by planting early, medium and necessarily late representatives of dioecious plants.

This popular American variety is characterized by continuous fruiting, which makes it almost mandatory for any suburban area. Albion bushes are large and the berries never fall to the ground as they ripen. Large cone-shaped berries have a pronounced taste and high density. Albion is often grown for sale - the berries are stored for a long time, are well transported, and the plant produces a large harvest that does not require abundant watering.

This variety is widely distributed in Europe and central Russia due to its early ripening, long-term fruiting and large fragrant berries. The bushes have large green leaves of light shades, quite resistant to the occurrence of harmful spots. The shape of the berries is correct and the fruits have a surprisingly attractive brilliance.

Madame Mutto

A good option for growing for sale, as it transports transport easily. The shape of the Madame Mutto berries is traditionally elongated-conical, however, during the last harvest of the vintage, the extremely sweet fruits are egg-shaped.

The best strawberry garden variety options for arid areas with irregular watering. Knight perfectly tolerates both heat and winter frosts, quite modest in growth. All berries have a bright bright red color, dense skin, under which fragrant and juicy flesh is located. The leaves of the plant are large, dark green in color, form graceful gardening compositions on the beds, decorating the garden until autumn.


Parasites

Not only do people love to eat strawberries. There are many insects that mercilessly damage the berries and leaves of this culture. The most dangerous pests are: strawberry nematode, aphid, strawberry mite, wasps.

Strawberry nematode- a small, rapidly multiplying worm (length 0.5-1 mm) that infects the leaves and stems of strawberries. In nematode-infected bushes, young leaves twist and deform, cuttings are shortened, stems thicken and grow. Infected plants practically do not produce a crop, and if there are berries, they are very small and irregular in shape. The fight against strawberry nematode is, first of all, in prevention. To do this, only healthy seedlings are selected for planting, which are moistened with warm water (46-50 degrees) for ten minutes before planting, and then immediately placed in cold water for fifteen minutes. Plants with the first signs of infection should be urgently removed from the garden and burned.

AphidIt is a dangerous pest that sucks the juice from leaves and stems. You can fight aphids with the help of garlic infusion. For this, a small head of garlic is peeled and the cloves are poured with three liters of cold water, insisting for 6-8 days. The infusion prepared with the help of a spray bottle is used to treat strawberry beds affected by aphids.

Strawberry mite- the most dangerous pest of garden strawberries. The females of the tick hibernate at the base of the leaves and with the onset of heat begin to actively lay eggs. In bushes affected by a strawberry mite, the leaves wrinkle, becoming covered with an oily bloom, the berries become very small. Bushes infected in early spring must be treated with karbofos or colloidal sulfur. Before flowering, the beds are sprayed with Neoron. If the plants are very affected by the tick, they are completely removed from the plantation and burned.

Containers with sweet compote or honey and sugar diluted in water will help distract the wasps from the strawberry plantation.

Birds can also cause significant damage to crops. To avoid this, red glass balls (used in interior design) are arranged around the bushes, long before the berries ripen. The birds will try to peck them, they will not like them, after which the strawberry bed will lose all interest in the birds.

In order for a strawberry plantation to delight you with a bountiful harvest from year to year, you should not ignore even the slightest signs of the manifestation of the disease or the appearance of pests on the bushes. Following the recommendations above will help you keep your plants healthy and get a good harvest.


Before strawberries are no longer available on the fruit and vegetable counters I HAVE to give you this wonderful recipe from Montersino. A perfect cake to welcome summer (or holidays if you have them these days, since the procedure is lengthy): Strawberry Garden.

30% of you may already know this cake and 60% will say "and but I there Meringue I will never do Italian". My mission, therefore, is first of all to make you fall in love with Italian meringue (and this is what someone who, hearing the word meringue, has her hair standing on end) and consequently make you buy a cooking thermometer. Trust me and these white, impalpable, fragrant and sweet clouds will be a ray of light even on bad days! Not to mention the wonderful recipes that will contain it. Like this one, in fact.

The cake consists of two layers of wet sponge cake with limoncello alternating with strawberry mousse. On top a yogurt jelly with strawberry slices embedded in it. Beautiful and good. Once the meringue is made (which is not complicated at all and can also be done with a hand mixer) the rest is really very simple. Let's see the individual compounds and then the assembly of the dessert.

The following doses are suitable for a 24/26 cm round mold or a 24cm side steel square (it would be 1/4 of the dose from Montersino!).

Organization: In one X moment of your life you have prepared the sponge cake and you have frozen it, kept it aside, ...
In another moment X you will prepare the meringue (see recipe below) and you can also freeze it, with the added advantage that it will never harden due to the high presence of sugar!
Remember, if the moment X of the meringue coincides with the same day in which you want to make this dessert, the meringue is the first thing to prepare (perhaps while the sponge cake is cooking!).

For the Italian meringue

  • 85 gr: egg white (about three small egg whites)
  • 150gr: of sugar
  • 30 gr: of water

How you do it: In a saucepan, first pour the water and then the sugar (so you can be sure that all the sugar gets wet) and put on the stove. It will have to boil and reach 121 °.
If you do not have a thermometer, 121 ° is reached when taking a little syrup with a teaspoon and touching it with your fingers wet in cold water, you will form a soft ball in your fingers .
As the sugar reaches temperature, in a glass or steel bowl (do not use plastic for the Italian meringue!), Begin to lightly beat the egg whites at medium speed. Then pour the sugar at 121 ° on the edge of the bowl (not on the whips, otherwise it splashes away), put the whips at maximum speed and whip almost until cool (about 40 °). Obviously if you have the planetary mixer in the meantime you can do something else.
For more info on Italian ameringue you can see the dedicated post clicking here. Or, you can directly see Montersino's explanation from 2.15 minutes onwards!

* Obviously the meringue can be prepared in advance and can also be frozen (always remaining soft due to the high presence of sugar).
Note that in this way you get a whipping of egg whites and sugar not only much more stable but above all pasteurized: the high temperature has killed all the bacteria and you can feel safe from the risks of salmonella and various sympathies!

For the yogurt and strawberry gelée layer:

  • 250g of whole white yogurt
  • 70g of sugar
  • 6g of isinglass
  • 30g of dextrose or sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 200g sliced ​​strawberries

How you do it: Soak the gelatin sheets (isinglass) in cold water. Heat a part of the yogurt (just under 100g) in the microwave or in a bain-marie. If it separates into lumps, don't be alarmed, it's normal! Dissolve the sugar, dextrose and well-squeezed gelatin in the hot yogurt (heat again if necessary). When everything is well melted, add the rest of the yogurt.
Line the bottom of a round or square mold with cling film keeping it taut, (ex. see here). Place the mold on a baking tray / cutting board that you will use to move the cake during the processing stages.
Randomly arrange the strawberry slices on the film (this will be the surface of the cake and therefore the beautiful part) and cover with the yogurt mixture.
Leave to rest in the freezer for 15 min. In the meantime, dedicate yourself to the strawberry mousse.
* Before moving the cake, make sure that there is room in the freezer to accommodate the mold IS that you don't have to tilt it to get it into the freezer. In this case, do as my friend Daniela suggests.

For the strawberry mousse:

  • 250 g of strawberry puree
  • 10g of isinglass
  • 250g of cream
  • 125g of Italian meringue

How you do it: Heat a part (less than 100g) of the strawberry puree (clean and pureed strawberries, consider a waste of about 100g to be sure), as for the yogurt jelly, melt the gelatin in the hot puree. Then add the cold puree.
Mix the Italian meringue with the strawberry puree with movements from the bottom up, then add the whipped cream, always with movements from the bottom up. Done! (and it is excellent as well, even without the rest of the cake, to be served in cups).
* If you are using frozen meringue, take it out of the freezer when adding it to the strawberry puree. If the puree is still a little too hot, wait a few minutes before proceeding.

To complete the cake:

  • bath with limoncello (same amount of sugar and water and limoncello according to your taste)
  • 200g of sponge cake (if you use one with rice flour the cake will be completely gluten free)
  • Fresh strawberries to decorate (optional)

Now that we have all these beautiful things, let's see how to assemble the cake.

In summary: we made the yogurt jelly and put it to harden in the mold in the freezer. In the meantime, in less than 15 minutes we have prepared the strawberry mousse. Now take the mold out of the freezer and pour half of the strawberry mousse directly onto the frozen gelée. Then we cover with a layer of sponge cake. After placing the sponge cake on the mousse, wet it with the limoncello syrup.

Pour the remaining mousse on the sponge cake, and cover again with sponge cake soaked in limoncello.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least two hours or even a few days. When you need to serve the cake, free it from the picture, turn it upside down directly on the plate / tray you will use for the service, and let it defrost in the fridge for at least two hours.
* Note: freezing the cake is needed just to be able to "handle" and unmold it. At service temperature (+ 4 ° C, i.e. the fridge temperature) it has a creamy consistency, impossible to turn or move with spatulas!

I already hear your question: but how? you can't put something thawed back into the freezer and then refreeze it. So it's not true that I can prepare sponge cake and meringue in advance.
Let's dispel the misunderstandings: defrosting assumes that the food taken out of the freezer goes from -18 to room temperature (+20). These steps (preparation of the mousse, assembly of the cake ...) must be done quickly. No.You shouldn't be misled by the fact that the sponge cake and meringue are soft! The softness is given by the presence of sugar (which is an anti-freeze), so even if the consistency is not as hard as ice, it is the temperature that you must take into account!

Okay, there is a lot of chatter and time is running out. I have to go to the hairdresser and then pack my suitcase! I'm going to the sea, or rather SEA, in my beloved Salento! Here is this super-delight. On my return I want to see your strawberry garden (or peaches, apricots, cherries… whatever you like.) Sciauuuuu!


Usage

Consumption can be fresh but also frozen ice cream liqueurs jams and syrups.


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