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wild strawberry, alpine strawberry

Fragaria vesca

The middle of summer is a busy time for foragers: many greens and flowers are large and lush and can be harvested, mushrooms are beginning to show up in wood and grasslands and the first fruit and berries are beginning to ripen.

Like its commercially grown cousin, the American hybrid strawberry, Fragaria x ananassa, our native wild woodland strawberry, Fragaria vesca, is at the height of its season.

Its leaves and flowers closely resemble the cultivated strawberry , but its fruit are much smaller and have a different, more intense, perfume. They are easy to identify (the only similar looking plant is Duchesnea indica with edible, though bland fruit), and are wide spread along forest edges and embankments, though sometimes difficult to spot, due to their diminutive size.

Pick fruit that are a bit away from canine passages and that are dark red and ripe to enjoy their delicious fragrant aroma.

Wild strawberries are almost too delicious to refrain from eating every last one fresh and on the spot, but if you would like to preserve some, try them as ice cream or liqueur or as a lovely, summertime scented jam. Don't cook them for longer than a minute or two, and do use other fruit to add pectin and juiciness for best results.

Happy foraging!

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