Wild Strawberry

A far better medicine than their big sisters! Stomach upsets, gout, a liver tonic and more

wild strawberryyWild strawberries are the smaller sisters of the strawberries we all know and love.

Although they are not as sweet, and have far more seeds, they have a longer season, are far less fussy, and produce enough fruit for you and the birds!

I often add them to a green salad, and they are a good addition to a fresh fruit salad.  As they are not as juicy as large strawberries, I find they work well in muffins and have mixed them with apples in a crumble.

This recipe for Wild Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Jam is delicious.  Use it in sweet and savoury dishes. Serve it with a salty feta cheese, as a topping for Brie, or gently stir it into a cream cheese – just enough to spread it through but leaving chunks visible – a bit like a raspberry ripple ice-cream.

Wild strawberries really shine in the herbal first aid box.  The leaves are taken in an infusion for diarrhea and stomach upsets, and are a cleansing diuretic for gout, arthritis and rheumatism.  It is a good tonic herb and safe for children.

Sage is the best herb to use for sore gums and mouth ulcers but if you do not have any, wild strawberry is a good alternative, and children will be happier with the taste.  The berries are a liver tonic and can either be eaten whole or juiced.  The berries are also antibacterial and historically were a common remedy for typhoid epidemics.

Strawberries are used extensively in the cosmetic industry in face creams.  Traditionally they have been used to lighten skin and remove freckles.  I don’t have freckles so can’t guarantee that works, but they do make a good face mask and leave the skin feeling refreshed.  Mash the fruit and apply to the face.  Do this in the bath as some always falls off and makes a mess.  Leave for about 15 minutes and rinse off.   While you are there you may as well rub some onto your teeth as they are a natural teeth whitener.

Growing them is as easy as planting a few runners.  The root system is shallow, so they make an ideal ground cover and do not disturb or hinder the growth of other plants.  I have them growing everywhere and the only time I pull them out is when I am sowing seed or planting young seedlings.  They die down a bit in winter, but as soon as spring arrives, they shoot and send out runners.

water distilled from the berries is good for the passions of the hear caused by perturbation of the spirits

John Parkinson, 1640

Wild Strawberry – Fragaria vesca

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