British strawberries sweeter and juicer
British soft fruit growers believe that the short delay to the start of the season, caused by cooler weather, has resulted in stronger plants. This should help boost the size of the fruit and sugar levels, making British strawberries sweeter and juicer than normal.
British Summer Fruits, which represents 85% of growers supplying berries to UK supermarkets, explains that the sweetness of strawberries is measured in degrees called Brix – the measure of sugar in a solution.
In the first week of the season, strawberries need to achieve a minimum of seven degrees but this spring strawberry growers are already reporting higher levels, with some samples above 10 degrees Brix.
Growers have also reported an increase in the size of strawberries with fruit up to 15% bigger than normal – deeper punnets are being used to protect the ripe, plump strawberries.
Laurence Olins, Chairman of British Summer Fruits, says: “Strawberries are a British staple of the early summer season. It may have been a later start to the British strawberry season, but there will be a good supply of British strawberries for everyone to enjoy.”
Production is expected to exceed last year’s 51,626 tonnes of strawberries supplied to UK supermarkets by members of British Summer Fruits.