Wild Fruit, Pacific Northwest
Wild strawberries are a common creeping plant that grows in forests, fields, lawns, forest edges, roadsides, and stream sides. It can grow up to 15cm tall, and its leaves are split into three leaflets.
Creeping plants, like strawberries, have runners. Runners are stems which grow sideways on the surface of the soil. As the runners grow, they send up new strawberry plants.
Harvest berries daily during production season. Once ripened, the fruits last for just a day, so check plants often and discard any overripe berries. Look for berries that are uniformly bright red and slightly soft, with darkening seeds. Pick off the plant with the stem and cap intact and collect in shallow containers to prevent bruising.
Fruit is really best eaten right off the plant, or immediately after picking with cream, sugar or on cereal. They are a gourmet treat in pie, jam, ice cream, shortcake, or dried. However, you’ll need to collect quite a few of the tiny berries, add your daily cache to a container in the freezer until you have enough to cook with.
In the landscape, wild strawberries are a lovely edging along a flower bed or sidewalk. Plant them in a well traveled part of the yard so they can be picked often.