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The Sweet History of Strawberry Shortcake

One of America’s classic desserts evolved over time into a summer treat

Andrew Martin
3 min readJun 21, 2021

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Is there a more refreshing and delicious summer dessert than fresh strawberry shortcake? The delightful fresh berry and biscuit treat has become an American staple, particularly during the summer months when strawberry harvesting is at its peak. Exploring where this dish came from shows that in the grand scheme of food history, it’s still relatively young but rapidly gained in popularity because it’s so irresistible.

Originally seen as a medicinal plant, strawberries were first mentioned in literature in ancient Roman times. In particular, it was believed to be beneficial to those suffering with depression, fevers, kidney stones and blood diseases. They grew to popularity in Europe, especially in France, where King Charles V reputedly had in excess of 1,200 strawberry plants in his royal garden. As they grew in popularity, its consumption evolved from homeopathic to pleasure. Naturally, many varieties have sprung from the plants that used to grow wild and have now been harnessed as a huge domesticated crop around the world. By 2017, the berry pulled in approximately $3.5 billion, 82% of which was for the fresh fruit alone.

As strawberries grew in popularity, so did the number of ways people found to enjoy…

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Andrew Martin

Dabbler in history, investing & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about history, diversity, culture, sports, film and investing .