Why are strawberries hollow?

Generally in the bigger strawberries, but sometimes in little ones too, they have a hollow in the center. Is there a purpose for this?

There are other fruits and veggies (cantalope, pumpkin, etc.) that are somewhat hollow, but the hollows are usually filled with seeds.

Coconuts are hollow (with “milk” in the center) but they’re a nut, so I doubt that’s comparable.

I suppose you could say that there are other berries that are hollow, but those spaces used to have something in the center before they were pulled off the bush, a la the raspberry.

So we’re left with the strawberry: Big gaping hole with no seeds in it, no liquid, no part of the vine ripped from it. What’s it for?

I think it depends on the variety. Most of the hollow ones I’ve seen have been the bigger, sturdy type bred for cross-country shipping from the West. The smaller (and much tastier)local varieties I saw in Pennsylvania and Michigan didn’t have hollows.

IIRC from reading a book “On Food and Cooking”, the strawberry is an “inverse fruit.”

Most fruit has its’ seeds in the middle, with the idea that an animal would pluck it off, eat the sweet stuff, and drop it on the ground. The “leftovers” would decompose and the seed would eventually get sown into the ground to reproduce another fruit tree/bush.

With the strawberry, it’s the same idea, except the seeds are on the outside. Just a quirk of nature I suppose, much like the avocado.

A similar condition, called “hollow heart”, occurs in potatoes. A common cause is high growth rates. This is possibly a result of over-fertilization or over-watering. You will typically find that these same berries are also lacking in flavor intensity or dry in texture.

PS: Hi Sue!

the fruit of the strawberry is not the actual strawberry, but the seeds on the outside. The fruit itself is a modified stem, which tend to be hollow.

A little more specifically, the “fruit” is actually a fleshy recpticle (which contains all of the organs of the flower).It’s not really a part of the stem, but a part of the flower organs. What we think of as seeds are really achenes (small, dry, hard, one seeded, indehiscent fruits.

Cashews do a similar thing. You have what’s known as a “cashew apple” which is a fleshy recepticle, and on the end of that is what looks like a seed, but really is the true fruit (which is black, and contains substances that are toxic (the plant is related to poison ivy and poison oak, as well as Mangoes). These nuts have to be processed to get the yummy nut without the toxic shell).

And while i’m at it, the water/milk inside a coconut is known as “liquid endosperm”, which as the seed matures gets converted into solid endosperm (the meat).

DOOB The Plant God comes thru again!

From now on I’m just e-mailing you all my plant-related questions.

Thanks Baby, you’re awesome!

BTW, I saw an “industrial” on a model in the lastest issue of Bazzar(sp?), I think it was for Vidal Sassoon, wicked cool!