Sakura Momo Strawberries
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|Food Buzz: History of Strawberries|
Sakura Momo strawberries are large, conical fruits with plump, rounded shoulders tapering to a curved point. The skin is glossy, smooth, and uniform, ripening from green to bright red, and is covered in small, external, and edible seeds, also known as achenes. Underneath the surface, the flesh is firm, aqueous, pale red to white, and emits a sweet, fruity aroma. Sakura Momo strawberries have a very sweet, sugary flavor with subtle notes of peach.
Sakura Momo strawberries are available in the winter through early spring in Japan.
Sakura Momo strawberries are botanically a part of the genus Fragaria and are a rare variety that belongs to the Rosaceae family. The modern cultivar is grown under stringent guidelines in Japan, and only eight strawberries are allowed to be grown on each plant to ensure a concentration of nutrients and flavor. Sakura Momo strawberries must also pass quality tests in color, aroma, flavor, and surface appearance before they can be sold, creating a very limited supply after inspection. Due to the strict standards, Sakura Momo strawberries are known to be extremely expensive, and small packs of the fruit can sometimes sell for up to 16,200 yen, which is equivalent to $151.16 in American dollars. Sakura Momo strawberries earn their name from their peach-like flavor and are considered a specialty variety sold at high-end retailers for fresh eating.
Sakura Momo strawberries are a great source of fiber, which can help regulate digestion, and are an excellent source of iron, folate, magnesium, and potassium. The fruits are also a good source of vitamins A and C, which provide antioxidant properties to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
Sakura Momo strawberries are primarily eaten fresh, out-of-hand to highlight the sweet, peach flavors. When purchased, the berries are often presented in stylish, hard boxes to ensure they are protected, and the variety is commonly consumed as a snack or dessert. Sakura Momo strawberries are also frequently served at high-end dinner parties and restaurants with champagne and chocolate platters. Beyond fresh eating, some chefs incorporate the exclusive berries in the center of mochi, known as daifuku, and are coated in a layer of sweet bean paste for added flavor. The fruits are also used to flavor ice cream, or they are layered into rolled cakes. Sakura Momo strawberries pair well with condensed milk, oranges, blueberries, cream, vanilla, yogurt, and custard. The fresh fruits will keep up to three days when stored in the refrigerator.
In Japan, Sakura Momo strawberries are often seen as a luxury variety and are used in high-end dessert preparations. One of the most famous examples is when Haagen-Dazs Japan introduced a Momo strawberry flavor at their upscale ice cream parlor, La Maison Ginza, in Tokyo. The four-story mansion-like location offers personalized service, and there are fourteen premium flavors available for purchase. Along with the desserts, there is an entire menu offered that is dedicated to champagne and wine pairings to complement the ice cream. The store also creates unique ice cream floats and even an ice cream salad that is made with fruit in the shape of tomatoes and cheese in the form of lettuce.
Sakura Momo strawberries are grown in the village of Sanagochi in the Tokushima prefecture of southern Japan. While the exact origins of the variety are unknown, Sakura Momo strawberries were released to commercial markets in 2008 and are cultivated by a limited number of farms in Japan under very strict guidelines. Today Sakura Momo strawberries are considered to be very rare and are most likely sold through high-end retailers in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.
Recipes that include Sakura Momo Strawberries. One is easiest, three is harder.
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