Strawberries and bears? No, not a menu suggestion, it’s a timing thing.
For the bears, they be common, being a great black kind of bear which be most fierce at strawberry time, at which time they have young ones.
1634. William Wood. New Englands Prospect. p. 42.
Strawberry time is a phrase we should bring back.
Then there’s hives. I know, you see the bears, and hear about hives and your thinking bees….
But I’m taking a moment to talk about the itchy, nasty on your skin, allergenic reaction hives. to quote Wikepedia
Some people experience an anaphylactoid reaction to the consumption of strawberries. The most common form of this reaction is oral allergy syndrome, but symptoms may also mimic hay fever or include dermatitis or hives, and, in severe cases, may cause breathing problems. Some research suggests that the allergen may be tied to a protein involved in the ripening of fruits, which was named Fra a1 (Fragaria allergen1). Homologous proteins are found in birch and apple, which suggests that people may develop cross-reactivity to all three species.
White-fruited strawberry cultivars, lacking Fra a1, may be an option for strawberry allergy sufferers. Since they lack a protein necessary for normal ripening, they do not produce the flavonoids that turn the mature berries of other cultivars red.
If you get a little rash or hives with strawberries (like I do) please note – the next step up is NOT BREATHING. That’s anaphlactoid reaction in layman’s terms. If you allerigic to the berries, you may also have an allergic reaction to the fresh leaves (the flavonoid somehow dissipates when the the leaves are dried). Do not use fresh strawberry leaves if you’re allergic to strawberries.
But if you’re not allergic, then by all means enjoy. And when you’re done have your own little Strawberry Thanksgiving. As no doubt they did in Massachusetts Bay Colony when the Arabella arrived.
On June 12, 1630, John Winthrop wrote:
“We supped with a good venison pasty and good beer and at night we returned to our ship but some of the women stayed behind. In the meantime most of our people went on shore, which lay very near us, and gathered stores of fine strawberries.”