I realized that I know nothing at all about strawberries other than the fact that when they're good, they're very, very, good, and when they're bad, they're horrid! I consulted a hefty tome entitled, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee [641.5 MCG], which informed me that the strawberry we know today is really a hybrid of two species that originally came from the New World, one from North America and the other from Chile in South America. Both were brought to France in the 1700s, and, by a fortuitous accident the two crossed.
In reading the entry in On Food and Cooking, I almost thought I had picked up a book about wine chemistry when I came across this description:
The pineapple note...comes from the presence of ethyl esters. Some sulfur compounds and a complex caramel-like oxygen-containing ring, furaneol (also characteristic of pineapple), round out strawberry aroma. The smaller European woodland strawberries have a flavor of Concord grapes thanks to anthranilates, and a clove-like spicy note (from the phenolic eugenol).Oh, and one more thing I learned from the book: picked strawberries do not continue to ripen. So, don't waste time waiting for them to turn redder!
I hope to see you at the festival! If you have to miss it, then treat yourself to homemade strawberry shortcake. You'll find an interesting recipe for a "Strawberry Shortcake Cake" in Ree Drummond's The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier [641.59766 DRU].
Photo by JoePhoto.