Strawberries

The existence of the wild strawberry in Greece goes back perhaps to 5.000 b.C. since, according to archaeological finds, it was gathered in Hacilar of Western Turkey. However there is no word in Theophrastus’, Hippocrates’, Dioscorides’ and Galen’s writings, probably because the plant had not been cultivated in gardens. Roman naturalists and writers distinguish between the ground strawberry and tree strawberry but say no more about them. In 10th century the Greek doctor Nicolas Myrepsus gave the strawberry the name fragoula < old ital. fragola (o > u) and distinguished it from the fruit of tree strawberry. In the 18th century the Greeks around Belgrade used the modern word ‘fraoula’(< old. ital. ‘fraola’) for strawberries.

The large strawberries that are cultivated in Macedonia, Western Sterea and Peloponnesos are descendant from plants that were transported in early 18th century from Chile to France and were crossed with North American variety.

It is remarkable that in early 19th century the cultivation of strawberry appears to replace the cultivation of vines in Vosporous (Ottoman Empire). The noble family of Ipsilantes, the Greek prince of Vlahia, led the way to the new cultivation.

However the tiny wild strawberries with the intense flavour, which are also known as chamaekerasa (the cherries which crawl), are still found in the wild. They are delicious if eaten raw, and add a special flavour to wine and liquers.

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One thought on “Strawberries

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