Are Strawberries a Citrus Fruit?

by Charlie

Are strawberries a citrus fruit? A strawberry is not a citrus fruit. It belongs to an entirely different botanical family called Rosaceae compared to citruses, which are from the Rutaceae family.

Other fruits within the Rosaceae family include apples, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, roses, and other berries.

Strawberries are popular for their lush red color, which is recognizable all over the world. The flavor is also prevalent as it is used in many drinks and foods. The taste can range from tart to sweet, depending on the variety of strawberries. They also come in different sizes.

Interestingly, strawberries are not considered berries botanically. That’s only because the botanical definition of berries is different from the common-use definition. The botanical definition of berries includes fruits like cucumbers, bananas, eggplants, and chili peppers and excludes plants like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

What is the Best Tasting Strawberry?

Strawberries come in 600+ different varieties, all of which were made from the original five wild species. 

However, there are only fourteen popular variants in the United States. They are Albion, Allstar, Alpine, Aroma, Camilo real, Diamante, Earliglow,  Fragaria Virginiana, Garden, Hood, Rosalinda, Seascape, Sweet Charlie, and Ventana. 

Earliglow is traditionally regarded as the sweetest of the commercially-available strawberry variants. This particular variant is named due to its tendency to produce fruits early in the strawberry season. 

The variants differ slightly in shape, taste, and color. However, only experts can tell the difference. Typically, smaller strawberries have a stronger, sweeter flavor, while larger strawberries are juicer but with more subtle flavors.

If you’re buying from a store, it can be difficult to identify what variant of strawberry you’re eating. However, if you get a chance to shop for strawberries at a farmer’s market, the farmers will be more willing to walk you through the specific variant(s) they have and their properties.

When are Strawberries in Season?

Depending on where you live, strawberries could be in season at different times of the year. In the US, all months between January and November are considered strawberry season. 

Different strawberry variants require different conditions for them to grow. For every month during the year, there’s a variant of strawberry that can be grown.

Southern states like Florida and Louisiana have strawberries that mature at around March or April, but they can produce fruit in January or February in some years. 

In Illinois and other middle states, harvest season comes between April and June.  Farther north, harvest season comes around in late June.

The peak harvest time for most places lasts for only three weeks. So, if you’re looking to taste freshly harvested strawberries, you’re better off contacting your local farm for their harvest schedule.

In smaller countries with fewer strawberry growing regions, however, strawberry season is much more limited. In the UK, for instance, strawberries are only in season between May and September. 

Should You Wash Strawberries before Eating Them?

Most health workers recommend washing fruits before eating them. This is because fruits can carry germs and dirt on their surface. They can also carry residues from fertilizers and preservatives that have been used on them.

While you should wash your strawberries before eating them, you shouldn’t wash them too long before eating them. 

Washing strawberries is easy. Put the berries in a colander and run tap water over them. The water will wash out any dirt or particle on the berries.

Strawberries have very light and skin, so washing them with water can introduce extra moisture to the fruit. That extra moisture often results in mold growing on the fruits.

If you want to refrigerate your strawberries, the best solution is to leave them unwashed when doing so. Whenever you bring them out to eat, you can then wash them.

Alternatively, you can wash the fruits with water and vinegar and then pat them dry with a napkin before returning the strawberries to the refrigerator.

Is it Okay to Eat Strawberries that have Mold?

If you’ve had to store many strawberries, you’ll notice that they get mold on them easily. This is because they are soft fruits with a lot of moisture. Mold is caused by fungal spores that land on the surface of a material (mostly food) and begin to germinate on them.

Although it is common practice to wash, cut off the moldy parts of foods and eat, you shouldn’t do that with strawberries. Being soft fruits, the mold is likely to have extended its tendrils (roots) deep into the strawberry. That means, even if you wash and cut off the obvious moldy parts, you won’t get rid of all the mold.

Both the strawberries with mold on them and those that have come in contact with mold should be gotten rid of because you cannot tell how far the tendrils have extended. 

While eating fruits with mold may not make you acutely sick, it’s not advisable to take chances. There’ are thousands of mold species that could take over your strawberry, and they have different toxicity levels. It is difficult to tell them apart if you don’t have a microscope handy or the relevant knowledge.

Protecting your strawberries from mold is easy. All you need to do is wash them in vinegar and dry. Vinegar is an excellent naturally-sourced anti-fungal solution. It will help you get rid of the berries’ spores so you can store them for longer. Once you’re done washing, make sure to dry the fruits with a napkin. The vinegar smell will not linger on the berries too.

Final Thoughts

Here are a couple  of thoughts we’d like you to take away from this article

  • Strawberries are not citruses. They are rose plants, otherwise known as Rosaceae.
  • Although Strawberries come in 600+ different flavors, Earliglow is regarded as the most flavourful of all the US commercially available variants.
  • Strawberry peak season depends on where you live. In the US, it is all year as different parts of the country produce different variants at different times of the year.
  • You should wash your strawberries before eating but only just before. Washing them a long time beforehand exposes them to spoiling faster.
  • Mold on strawberries is a sign that they should be thrown out. Even berries that have touched other moldy ones might be infected too. 

You may also like