The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are usually listed amongst the seven wonders of the ancient world – yet as far as gardens go, they were missing one thing that would have made them even better: strawberries, a fruit that would not land on the shores of the old world for another couple of thousand years. It was a sad berriless time in human history, unless you lived in the Americas.
I’m a huge fan of strawberries (maybe you guessed that), and, as a kid, I used to surgically remove their leaves (calyxes) to ensure that not one molecule of that sweet red flesh went to waste. I must confess, I’ve gotten sloppier as I’ve gotten older – but I don’t feel good about that. So, I recently started to wonder about strawberry tops, and what I could do with them.
It turns out that many people use them in smoothies, or to make tea. One word of caution, though: the leaves of strawberry plants release hydrogen cyanide gas as they decay – and that’s not so good for you. So, if you want to use strawberry leaves, you either need to use them before they start to wilt, or after they’ve had time to dry out.
After I made strawberry pancakes yesterday, I was left with a half dozen strawberry tops. Rather than waste them, I seeped them in hot water, and ended up with a light pink, fruity herbal tea.
And after I was done soaking all the goodness out of the strawberries, the worms in the composter got a delicious snack that would have been the envy of His Royal Highness, King Nebuchadnezzar II. They seemed happy.