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Asuka Ruby Strawberries
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Asuka Ruby strawberries are large fruits, averaging 3 to 4 centimeters in diameter, and have a uniform, round to conical shape that tapers to a curved tip. The skin is smooth, glossy, firm, and bright red to red-orange, covered in small external seeds, also known as achenes. Underneath the surface, the fine-textured flesh is soft, aqueous, light red to pale pink, and contains a central and edible, tapered core. Asuka Ruby strawberries are juicy and aromatic, offering a balanced, sweet and sour flavor with subtle acidity.
Asuka Ruby strawberries are available in the winter through late spring in Japan.
Asuka Ruby strawberries are botanically a hybrid variety of Fragaria × ananassa, also known as the common strawberry, and belong to the Rosaceae family. The sweet-tart fruits are a cross between asuka wave and onmine strawberries and are considered to be a specialty variety of Nara, Japan. The name Asuka stems from the Asuka Era, which is a rich period of Japanese history that was centralized in the prefecture of Nara. The fruits are also named ruby in honor of their bright red coloring that resembles the precious stone. Asuka Ruby strawberries are highly favored as a fresh eating variety and are valued for their large, uniform size and sweet, slightly sour flavor.
Asuka Ruby strawberries are an excellent source of folate, iron, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. They are also a good source of vitamins A and C, and the antioxidant-rich flavonoids anthocyanin, quercetin, and kaempferol.
Asuka Ruby strawberries are best suited for raw applications as their sweet-tart flesh is showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. The fruits are known for their soft, juicy consistency and are primarily consumed as a snack or in fresh desserts. Asuka Ruby strawberries are also sliced and tossed into green salads and pasta salads, mixed into fruit bowls, used as a decorative element on cakes, sprinkled as a topping over parfaits, tarts, and baked goods, cooked into jams, or pureed into sweet sauces. In Nara, Japan, the region is famous for its kakigori or shaved ice, which is a dish made in honor of the Himuro Shrine, a temple dedicated to the god of ice. Asuka Ruby strawberries are a popular topping sliced fresh or blended into a puree and poured over the shaved ice. Asuka Ruby strawberries pair well with sweet cream, herbs like mint and basil, almonds, pistachios, vanilla, and caramel. The fresh fruits will keep 3-7 days when wrapped in paper towels and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The strawberries can also be frozen up to six months.
In the Asuka village in Japan, Asuka Ruby strawberries are widely promoted as a locally famous variety on farm tours. Sixteen locations around the village grow the cultivar, and several of the sites use unique elevated gardens, which provide farmers with increased production during the season. Many of these farms have also created a food tourism business around their fruits and allow visitors thirty minutes to pick and consume as many strawberries as they can manage straight from the gardens. These food tours provide an additional source of revenue for the farms, and the tours can be conducted daily as the greenhouses are climate controlled and offer protection from the outside weather.
Asuka Ruby strawberries were first developed in the late 1990s by the Nara Agricultural Experimental Station in Asuka, which is a village in the Nara prefecture of Japan. The sweet fruits were officially registered as a commercial variety in 2000, and today Asuka Ruby strawberries are primarily localized to growers in the Nara prefecture in Japan.
Recipes that include Asuka Ruby Strawberries. One is easiest, three is harder.
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