Huelva strawberries: all you need to know about the ‘queen of fruits’
Huelva is very famous due to its extraordinary and beautiful panoramic views, but it is also true that it has an exquisite gastronomic offering. In the magic triangle of Huelva dining, Huelva strawberries are the third vertex, along with prawns and ham. Huelva is the best and biggest European strawberry producer (you must try the fresón de Palos) and this is thanks to the fact that it has 248 hours of sun a month in spring and a very small thermal oscillation between day and night, and, very importantly, fertile lands which means that 95% of this fruit in Spain is from this province. For this and other reasons, we want to tell you everything you need to know about Huelva strawberries.
How Huelva Strawberries are cultivated
Before planting strawberries, it is very important to take some things into account. Firstly, the land has to be prepared properly. The main thing is that the soil is weed-free and well fertilised. It should be borne in mind that strawberries are perennial plants and, therefore, produce fruit throughout their life. However, to get quality fruit the crop must be changed every three years.
Where to plant large and small strawberries?
Strawberries need certain basic care and there are two aspects that are very important: temperature, which must be warm, and sun exposure. However, if you are going to plant wild varieties, these must be planted in the shade
What temperature do strawberries need?
Provided that the plant has no fruit, it is beneficial for it for the temperature to be lower than 10 degrees so that it can develop well and produce fruit. Nonetheless, when it starts to fruit, it is important for the temperature to be between 14 and 21ºC, and to never falls below 12ºC when the fruit is maturing.
Strawberry varieties and types
For those who do not know, there are over 600 different varieties of this fruit. They are differentiated by size, colour, texture and flavour. Here, however, we are only going to talk about four, since these are the ones we can find in the Huelva region.
- Queen of the valleys. This is the most common variety. They are very small, sweet and have a colour that fluctuates between whiteish red and bright red.
- Camarosa. This strawberry is of Californian origin and is the first variety to be collected. It is very brightly coloured, has very good flavour and is a fruit with a very firm texture.
- Pájaro. These strawberries are a uniform bright red. It may be the strawberry type with the best flavour.
- Selva. This strawberry variety is the one you find in summer, since it is picked in mid-July until September.
Benefits of eating strawberries
In addition to being delicious, strawberries are very healthy. If you don’t believe us, to follow are six benefits of eating strawberries that we are sure will convince you.
- Strawberries are low in calories. One hundred grams of strawberry has 33 calories. They are also very rich in fibre, which helps regulate intestinal flora.
- They are loaded with antioxidants. Strawberries are known for their powerful qualities for maintaining cellular health.
- They are a natural anti-inflammatory. The phenols they contain help (like aspirin or ibuprofen) to fight against inflammatory processes of the organism by inhibiting the production of the enzyme cyclooxygenase.
- They are a rich source of vitamins. Strawberries are a source of B vitamins, such as niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and folic acid. They also contain vitamin C.
- They contribute to bone health. Strawberries have a large concentration of potassium, magnesium and vitamin K.
- They have an anti-ageing effect. The ellegic acid in strawberries is beneficial for skin elasticity. It also slows down the appearance of wrinkles and flaccidity.
- They support dental health. Strawberries have a high xylitol content, which effectively attack the bacteria that create dental plaque.
- They are good for fighting hypertension. Strawberries have a high potassium content, which helps combat the negative effects of excess sodium.
- They are laxatives. Strawberries are 90% water and also have a large amount of fibre (2.2 grammes), so they are regarded as cleansers, laxatives and diuretics.
- They protect you from the sun. Thanks to their high vitamin C content, first, strawberries help you with sunburn (they contain tannins, which reduce pain) and second, they work as a protector (they fight free radicals).
Curiosities about strawberries
The true fruit are the seeds.
The fruit of the strawberry are the small seeds dotted over its surface, usually numbering 150 to 200. It is the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside.
Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
The crimson fruit belongs to the same branch as peaches, apples and pears, which, in botanical terms, belong to the rose bush order.
How do you get rid of strawberry stains?
This fruit leaves stains that are not easy to get out. To do so, mix a quarter litre of cold water, a quarter tablespoon of liquid detergent and a tablespoon of vinegar. Then immerse the garment for a few minutes and rub until the stain disappears.
Teresa Cabarrús, a Spanish lady from French high society, used to bathe in 10 litres of strawberry juice to keep her skin tight and soft.
Lepe strawberries are very sought after in Japan
White Lepe strawberries, called ‘pineberry’, are born from the merging of the terms ‘pine’ and ‘berry’ and are known in Japan as ‘shiroi houseki’. They can cost up to 60 euros.
They can contain up to 200 seeds
The strawberry is actually not a fruit, but rather an infructescence, that is an ensemble of fruits, which is why it has those black dots, which are actually seeds. They are called achenes and each strawberry can have between 150 and 200.
The strawberries we eat do not come from a single species
Commercial strawberries, like other fruits and products we consume, are the result of multiple crossovers to adapt to geographic conditions and consumer requirements. In other words, strawberries do not have a single origin. They actually come from four species of the Fragaria genus.
They reduce undereye circles
Like cucumber slices, strawberries can also be used to decongest and correct signs of fatigue.
They can be frozen
Strawberries can be frozen. If you need to set aside some strawberries for the future, they can be frozen without being ruined.
The strawberry is the symbol of Venus
The strawberry symbolizes beauty and love (thanks to its shape and color). There is an old saying that if a couple eats a double strawberry, their love will be eternal.
Tips when buying strawberries
Everybody loves strawberries (well, they are delicious), but they have a little problem in that they have a very short life. So, here are some tips you need to bear in mind when buying this delicacy.
It will sound strange, but the first thing you have to bear in mind when choosing a good strawberry is its odour, since good strawberries have an intense aroma. So, if the ones you are going to buy have a subtle odour, you can be almost sure that they have been grown using a lot of chemicals.
Good strawberries have an intense bright red colour, so we recommend you don’t buy ones that have any green on them, since, once picked, this fruit stops maturing.
Size and shape
They say that size matters and how right they are, especially if we’re talking about strawberries, since in this instance big does not mean better, as they may have been injected with water to be more voluminous. Pay attention to possible flat or sunken areas in the fruit, since this can be a sign that they are starting to rot.
Strawberries must always have their leaves, since without them they start to rot early. A little tip: strawberries that have a small space between the leaf and base are sweeter.
We have to say that this tip has no scientific basis, but it is no less true that it is common knowledge that the further apart a strawberry’s black dots are from each other and the deeper they are, the sweeter the fruit.
Four delicious strawberry recipes
Huelva strawberries are of an exceptional quality and are, therefore, in high demand all over Europe. Their flavour, characteristics and properties make the perfect tandem. For this reason and so you can try them at any time, we are giving you four recipes with the flavour of strawberry.
To make this delicious recipe, where you will make the most of this fruit’s spectacular flavour, all you will need are 500 g of strawberries, 5 mature tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, 8 slices of day-old bread, vinegar and a little salt and pepper.
Spinach and strawberry salad
Even though salads are not the most obvious thing to eat at this time of year, you will definitely want to eat this one again and again, since it is the freshest and most delicious one there is. To make it, prepare a bowl with spinach, then cut some cherry tomatoes in half and add some toasted bread cut into cubes and finish off with some finely sliced apples and some strawberries. To complete this dish, just season it to your taste.
Strawberry cup with cream and sponge cake
This strawberry recipe is a dessert for those with a very sweet tooth. It is very special. To make it, all you will need are 500 g of strawberries, 1/2 litre of light cream, 200 g of sugar, since it is made the same way as the traditional lemon sponge cake.
This is a delicious dessert and we are sure you’ll love it. All you will need are puff pastry dough, 250 ml of whipping cream, 100 g of cream cheese, strawberries and icing sugar.
Where to stay
The best accommodation option if you are visiting southern Spain is Fuerte Hoteles. The Hotel Fuerte El Rompido is one of the most beautiful hotels in the area due to its spectacular location on a hill dominating the entire natural landscape of the river Piedras. Added to that is an Andalusian aesthetic architecture that blends in with its environment. An ideal place for resting and practicing sports surrounded by nature.