It’s one of the world’s most famous flavors, from jam and ice cream to lip gloss and lollipops. And even though its fruity fingerprints are everywhere, we still can’t seem to get enough.
So whether you were the kid who always picked the red popsicle or the one who loved those scratch and sniff stickers, this page is for you – because, as luck would have it, there are even more varieties of au natural strawberries than there is strawberry-flavored stuff!
Strawberry Fields Forever
It seems strawberries have always been popular, with roots tracing back to the Roman Empire and even beyond.
But despite their longstanding run in the spotlight, the ruby beauties were truly nature’s candy, growing wild for most of their existence and enjoyed straight from the ground.
It wasn’t until the 14th Century that strawberries made their leap to the garden, first found on the royal grounds of France’s King Charles V, and, not long after, appearing everywhere from illuminated monk manuscripts to Renaissance paintings.
By the time a few more Charleses had worn the crown in France, the eighth Henry was sitting the throne in England, where his devoted archbishop had developed the decadent recipe for strawberries and cream. And once the fruit was elevated to such heavenly heights, there was no looking back.
Strawberries became so wildly popular in Europe and the fledgling Americas, farmers had to figure out how to grow them in shifts – literally.
And what we’re left with today are the fruits of their labor: three broad varieties of strawberry, categorized by the time of year they like to blossom, including:
Each month’s full moon has a folk name, and June’s celestial event goes by the Strawberry Moon. For good reason.
The first month of summer represents the peak of strawberry season, thanks largely to the huge amount and variety of June-bearing fruits.
These types of strawberries grow primarily during a 2-3 week window, typically in – you guessed it! – June. And June-bearing berries are one of the most popular types of strawberries, thanks to their robust size and wonderful flavor.
You’re most likely to find all manner of these beauties in the produce aisle, but a few of the most popular June-bearing varieties include:
True to their name, these types of strawberries are some of the first to sprout, making them a perennial favorite of impatient gardeners—or just regular strawberry lovers—everywhere.
But they also live up to the “glow” half of their moniker, with a wonderfully deep red color and particularly sweet taste.
Another aptly named varietal, these berries are truly VIPs.
Allstars hit it out of the park when it comes to classic strawberry features: They’re plump, red, big, juicy, and sweet – but not too sweet.
Bonus: These berries are particularly disease-resistant, making Allstar strawberries even more clutch.
Firm, juicy and large, these types of strawberries are especially noted for their exceptional taste.
And Chandler berries prove that sometimes, the beauty on the outside really reflects the beauty within, with an equally-notable glossy skin that’s just the perfect shade of red.
What’s better than one strawberry harvest a year? Two strawberry harvests a year – at least!
Ever-bearing strawberries don’t exactly last forever, but the plant is famous for its ability to yield crops in the early summer, mid-summer, and—on a good year—the late summer, too.
There are less strawberries to be found on these runners (the vine-like structure strawberries sprout from), and ever-bearing strawberries are typically smaller than many other varieties, as their seeds spend most of their energy on generating multiple fruits per season, rather than helping those fruits make weight.
But the bountiful nature of the plants is enough to make any strawberry lover lose their ever-loving mind.
Some of the most popular types of ever-bearing strawberries include:
Perhaps the best known berry of the ever-bearing variety, Ozark Beauties are every bit the picture of loveliness they’re named for, sporting bright red skin and an especially sweet taste.
They’re one of the largest types of ever-bearing strawberries, as well, and typically sprout twice a year: Once in the early season, and once toward the end of summer.
Seascapes are one of the most unique types of strawberries out there, and not just for their magical multi-month growing potential.
These types of strawberries are especially resistant to disease, making them a traditional gardener’s choice. And for the more aesthetic-minded, these fruits rock a flesh as beautifully red as their outsides.
We’re not sure why all these ever-bearing strawberries sport such scenic-sounding names – but we don’t hate it!
For their part, Alpine strawberries live up to all that whimsy, originally coming from the outskirts of forests in France. Cultivated today, they come in a number of sub-varieties, including yellow and white selections, and are known to be among the smallest – but tastiest – of the ever-bearing berries.
Ever-bearing fruits may speak of several spurts of growth, but day-neutral strawberries can bloom slow and steady all summer long.
Unlike their pickier ever- and June-bearing cousins, which grow in direct relation to their preferred number of sunshine hours, day-neutral strawberries don’t mind how long or short the days are. As such, they can blossom anywhere from early June through mid-October, boasting by far the longest strawberry growing season.
Still, day-neutrals are also the smallest type of strawberry out there, rarely budding longer than an inch.
But you still might see some of their tasty varietals out there, including:
With their firm texture and tendency to hold onto their bright red hue, these types of strawberries are a particularly popular choice for canning.
Still, with a perfectly sweet bite, these ruby creations – a product of a Cornell University experiment in 1979 – make a delicious strawberry choice, no processing necessary.
The Allstars may have a bit of competition here.
Tristar berries are renowned as one of the sweetest types of strawberries out there, and sport a nice firm bite and bold red skin to boot.
But Tristars are arguably also the most prolific strawberry varietal, sprouting early, continuing to produce all summer long, and holding on all the way through fall.
Strawberries may be an ancient pleasure, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for improvement.
Enter: The Albion, one of the most recently developed strawberry varietals. Still, this plant has wasted no time making its mark, with a particularly crisp texture, perfectly conical shape and spectacularly sweet taste.
We’re sure Charles V, Henry VIII – or anyone else with a working set of taste buds – would approve!