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Did You Know?

When you buy strawberries out of season, especially in winter, you are more likely to think "should you", rather than "how." The "how" part is easy: different varieties of strawberries have now been bred to produce fruit at different times of the year. The "should you" part is a rather trickier matter between you, your wallet and your tastes.

Winter strawberries don't seem to have the taste of local Strawberries in the summer. These winter varieties, destined for widespread markets rather than just local consumption, have been bred to be more durable for shipping, to have a longer shelf life, and for some reason, they tend to have about half the sugar content of summer strawberries, which is why they aren't as sweet. They can still be nice, but these are the wrong strawberries to dip in chocolate or to just serve simply with cream: save that for the summer ones. See under cooking tips below for some ways to wake up the flavour of off-season strawberries.
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Today's Lunchtime Learning

Margarine is a product meant to be an alternative to butter. More than that, though, it become the product that launched a thousand political battles.

The dairy industry is ever vigilant about margarine claiming to be butter. They don't seem to mind the word "butter" being used to describe peanut butter, or almond butter, or milk being used to describe soy milk or almond milk, but just try to call margarine butter and oh boy, they're all over you. That's fair enough, but the dairy industry has an unfortunate, century-long history of urging governments to suffocate if not ban outright the margarine industry (see History section below.) If even the smallest of these repressive measures had been directed instead at the butter industry, there's no doubt they would have taken a different view of what was right and wrong. One thing governments weren't able to do, though, was police what people said at home in their dining rooms, and that was "pass the butter" when pointing at a tub of margarine.
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