If you wanted me to name the best fruit ever, my first guess would have to be the humble strawberry. Okay, so maybe they’re not the most exotic kind of berry out there, not when you can find stuff like dragonfruit, starfruit and durians in the produce aisle of plenty of supermarkets these days.
But for me, there’s something about them that is simple and pure. Their taste is sweet and distinct: not too cloying but not at all tart, and they have a soft texture that makes them the perfect addition to any existing dessert, whether it be ice-cream, yoghurt, a hot pie or just mixed with cream. And of course, they have a totally appetising appearance: heart-shaped, dotted with seeds, and a rich rosy red colour. Yummy.
In fact, the colour red is so strongly associated with Strawberries that any botanical deviation from their predominant hue would probably be considered an act of horticultural sabotage by all and sundry. In today’s market, when crops of domesticated have been selectively bred to be more or less similar, and foot painters have given us an idealised vision of what ‘natural’ organic produce is supposed to look like, a lot of our staple fruit looks pretty much homogenous … which is why you’ll probably be surprised to learn that a certain strain of Japanese strawberry never turns that vivid, luscious shade of red we love so much. Instead it ripens towards an eerie pale white; which makes it look downright unrecognisable!