Strawberry picking Robots

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Well this is not the first time we have seen robots harvesting food and probably not the last but a team in Japan has created a robot that selectively picks strawberries that are at least 80% red.  Though this might be good enough for the average consumer at the grocery store, I would personally insist on closer to 95% and hold off until they are a slightly darker red for some extra delicious super ripe berries.

They estimate that this robot can reduce picking time by by 40% but at 9 seconds a berry I am pretty sure I can easily keep up with this monster…though I eventually have to sleep and eat so the numbers may work out.  I also would have to make the assumption that this is being targeted for growing hydroponic strawberries given even with my primitive human vision I need to move some leaves around to see most of the berries I pick in my back yard.

There is no word on the cost of this strawberry picking robot but you can check out a video of this bad boy in action below.

Making homemade strawberry syrup

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Though not the best summer for tomatoes, our mild summer has been great for strawberries.  Until recently I was picking about a pint a day from our modest “strawberry patch”  Many became a quick snack, smoothies, and others got frozen for consumption this summer.

This morning the kids wanted something special for breakfast so decided on making some homemade strawberry syrup.

 

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Homemade Strawberry Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer to allow the syrup to thicken and reduce to about one half by volume (15 — 20 minutes)

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving

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This is great of pancakes/waffles but my daughters also enjoyed this on vanilla ice cream.  With my oldest daughters loves of sugar and strawberries she asked if she could eat it by itself, which I had to say no too…

Why are strawberries called strawberries?

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The common theory is that the origin of the word “strawberry” is based on the practice growing the plants with a layer of straw mulch to help retain moisture, deter pests, and keep the berries cleaner for picking.  There is also a thought that they were simply packaged in straw when being brought to market.

There is one problem with this theory which in this article from Snopes sums up very nicely:

The word ‘strawberry’ has been part of the English language for at least a thousand years, well before strawberries were cultivated as garden or farm edibles. They grew in the wild of their own accord, their berries gathered by folks who happened across strawberry patches. Therefore, although the word’s precise origin cannot be determined, we can certainly throw out any etymology dependent upon the plant’s being bedded in straw to protect it from the cold or keep its berries clean. Even if such practices had been used, they would have begun long after the fruit had been given its current name.

So where did the name ‘strawberry’ come from then?  There are a couple more theories based on the meaning of the word “straw”

One explanation hinges on a particular meaning of “straw” a particle of straw, chaff, or mote describing the appearance of the achenes (tiny yellow seeds) scattered over the surface of the berry. Another view says it comes from “stray” or “strew,” designating the spread of the plant’s runners (slender tendrils), in that in an unchecked field of strawberries the plants appear to have been strewn across the ground with their runners straying everywhere.

In the end I guess we really do not know for sure where they got their name, so any other theories out there?

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