I have been in touch with a couple of researchers who are looking at strawberry flavor and aroma. What a delightful change in pace. It seems that the whole world is hung up on size, shipability, shelf life and all that’s not about flavor. A customer and new friend at the U of FL sent me an article about aroma that just fascinated me. I won’t go into it all here, but I will mention that researchers have identified the group of compounds responsible for the aroma that you experience from strawberries. They are called Ã‚Â MA or methyl anthranilate. This is the main volatile compound present in wild types like Fragaria vesca that give them their distinctive aroma.
Most of the garden hybrids that we see in the grocery store have little or no MA. It is present only in the wild types of several species. In fact, several species other than F. vesca have higher MA content, even though F. vesca has a high content. I located a couple of these species and am in the process of attempting to get them shipped to me. This is not an easy task, but will be well worthwhile if I can accomplish it. My hope is to look at these species in terms of production and taste to see whether they can be commercialized. A longer range dream is to cross the most promising to create stable hybrids with high aroma, excellent taste and high productivity. I’m a dreamer but we’ll see what happens.