Strawberries are beautiful, delicious, and one of the most popular fruits in the world. But did you know that the leaves of a strawberry plant are also edible?
In fact, strawberry leaves have been used for centuries as a food source in many cultures. The leaves are usually consumed cooked or as an ingredient in tea, but some people also eat them raw.
What Are Strawberry Leaves?
Strawberries are small fruits that grow on low-growing perennial plants called runners. The runner plants send out roots along the ground and send up new shoots where they touch the soil. These runners are often referred to as stolons.
Each plant produces one or two main “mother” plants and many runners grow off of these mothers. The mother plants can develop into new plants if they are moved, which makes strawberry propagation easy because you just need to dig up some runners from one plant and transplant them into another area of your garden or yard.
Strawberry leaves are the small green leaves that grow on each runner at its junction with the mother plant or another runner. They can be eaten by livestock such as cattle, sheep, or goats without any harm coming to them because they contain no thorns or spines like some other types of foliage (like rosemary).
Are Strawberry Leaves Safe To Eat?
Strawberries are sweet, juicy, and delicious. The leaves of the strawberry plant, however, are not to be eaten unless they are cooked.
The taste of strawberry leaves is bitter and astringent, similar to that of spinach. The leaves contain chemicals called tannins; these are what give them their bitter taste.
If you eat raw strawberry leaves, they can cause nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea. Cooking the leaves mellows their flavor somewhat and makes them safe to eat in small amounts.
Strawberry leaves also contain oxalic acid, which can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb minerals like calcium from other foods you eat at the same time. This is why it is best to cook them thoroughly before eating them as a vegetable dish or in a salad dressing or smoothie.
Benefits Of Strawberry Leaves
Strawberry leaves are a great alternative to spinach and other green leafy vegetables. They are high in vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium, making them a good source of nutrients for your body. Strawberry leaves also contain significant amounts of phytochemicals such as flavonoids and polyphenols.
Here are some benefits of strawberry leaves:
They Reduce Inflammation
Strawberry leaves contain phytonutrients that reduce inflammation. These phytonutrients are flavonoids and tannins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, they also contain antioxidants that help prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals in the body. This can help prevent the onset of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
They Improve Digestion
Strawberry leaves are a great source of fiber. The leaves contain roughage that is helpful in improving digestion and bowel movement.
They Protect Against Cancer
Strawberry leaves may also help prevent cancer because they contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that can protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause damage to healthy cells.
What Do Strawberry Leaves Taste Like?
Strawberry leaves have a mild flavor similar to spinach. They can be used in salads or added to soups for an extra nutritional boost. If you want to use them in recipes that call for spinach, use half as much because the leaves are larger and more fibrous than spinach leaves.
How To Eat Strawberry Leaves
Strawberry leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. If you want to use them as a spinach substitute, do not add salt when cooking them because it will make the oxalic acid more concentrated and potentially harmful.
To prepare strawberry leaves for cooking:
1. Gently wash them under running water; pat dry with paper towels or allow them to air dry completely before further preparation
2. Cut off any brown or dead edges from the leaves
3. Chop into bite-sized pieces if desired (it’s up to you whether you want smaller or larger pieces)
4. Add chopped strawberry leaf pieces to stir-fries, soups, or salads
Here are some other great ways to incorporate strawberry leaves into your diet:
Strawberry Leaf Tea
One common use for strawberry leaves is making tea. When steeped in hot water, these plants have a mild flavor similar to green tea without any caffeine. This makes them an ideal beverage option for people who suffer from insomnia or anxiety due to caffeine withdrawal while they’re sleeping or trying to relax before bedtime.
Add To Salads
Strawberry leaves make a great addition to any salad or green smoothie. They may not taste like strawberries, but they do add a subtle sweetness that will boost the flavor of other ingredients in your dish while providing extra nutrients like vitamin C, iron, and calcium.
Not only can you eat the fruit of the strawberry plant, but the leaves are also edible. You can eat the leaves raw or cooked. It’s nutritious and healthy to eat. Before you start eating them, make sure that the strawberry leaves are washed thoroughly to remove any residue of pesticides and other chemicals that may be on there.
Kate has been in the food business for over 20 years. Worked as a cook at several buffets which include Old Country Buffet, Five Star Buffet, and Ichiban Buffet. Now, I’m mostly at home cooking for my family, caring for chickens and ducks, and tending the garden.