Strawberry | Çilek
Strawberries are native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Although wild strawberries have been eaten since ancient times, they were not consumed in large quantities. The ancient fruit was small, tough and lacked flavor. The modern juicy strawberry originated in Europe during the 18th century. By 19th century, most countries had developed their own strawberry varieties.
Six primary varieties of strawberries grow in Turkey. They include Frenk Çileği (Frankish Strawberry), Sera Çileği (Greenhouse Strawberry), Arnavutköy Strawberry (Ottoman Strwaberry), Ereğli Strawberry (which is generally used in preserves), Bursa Strawberry and wild strawberries.
Strawberries are known to have been cultivated in Turkey dating back to the Ottoman Empire. However, production was primarily limited to Istanbul. The Istanbul neighborhood of Arnavutköy is known locally for Ottoman era wooden mansions and a historically multicultural population. Additionally, the area is also known for a fragrant, pink strawberries called Arnavutköy Strawberry. Today, Arnavutköy Strawberries can only be found growing in the Black Sea region.
Turkey is the second largest strawberry producer in the world.
The primary regions for the cultivation of strawberries include the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean. More than 50% of the strawberries produced come from the Mediterranean region. Additionally, greenhouse grown strawberries can also be found in the Central Anatolia region.
The peak season for strawberries begins in May and lasts until September. However, greenhouse grown strawberries can be found all year.
In Turkey, strawberries are consumed fresh, dried and preserved. Strawberry preserves are a common breakfast accompaniment.
Mini Tiramisu with Fresh Strawberries and Mint
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