My cousin brought me some tasty strawberries from Michigan that got me wondering, why are grocery store strawberries so big? The answer is pretty simple, big strawberries are easier to pick. That’s about it. Strawberries are picked by hand and less labor is involved and fewer strawberries fill up a container when they are big.
Strawberries and other colorful berries are good for us because they contain chemicals that can reduce inflammation and lower the risk of many diseases including cancer, cardiovascular troubles, and obesity. The main chemicals associated with these healthful properties are also what give strawberries their color–anthocyanin pigments–but there are over 25 compounds in strawberries associated with health promotion. The content of these compounds varies with the type of strawberry. One study done at Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy found that wild strawberries, which tend to be smaller and softer, contain on average, more healthful chemicals with the strawberry Elsanta falling short compared to the wild types. The new variety Romina (developed in Italy) was more nutritious than Elsanta. But does size matter? I can’t come to a strong conclusion except that maybe yes, if the berry is also on the wild side. I’d say that eating a variety of sizes is preferable since nearly every type has its chemical perks. And when it comes to strawberries, small and squishy is nothing to be afraid of.