7 Thoughts You’ve Had While Eating Strawberries

Strawberry season is here, and you know what that means: Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad is back!

Who hasn’t pondered at length about strawberries? Well, OK, we have. Sound smart the next time you sit down to our seasonal salads, with info to satisfy everyone’s understandable strawberry obsession.

1. Which strawberries taste better: small or big?

Surprisingly, size isn’t the issue. The key is finding strawberries that have been allowed to ripen in the fields for as long as possible before harvesting. If you’re looking for signs of a fully ripe strawberry, you’ll need to look deep within—as in, breaking open the strawberry and examining its color. Red throughout means you’ve found a winner; if it’s white inside, expect a blander taste.


2. What’s the best time of year to eat strawberries?

Late April through August is when you’ll likely see ripe, flavorful strawberries flood the markets. (You’ll find strawberries sold year-round, of course, but we bet you can taste the difference.) At Panera, we only serve Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad in summer during peak season. Ripeness matters.


3. Why are there seeds on the outside of a strawberry?

Those aren’t actually seeds—they’re the fruit! Called achenes, the tiny seedlike specks are dry fruit produced by several types of flowering plants (sunflowers, for example—those aren’t seeds either!). The red, juicy flesh we love isn’t a fruit or berry at all—it’s actually the enlarged tip of the stalk. But a strawberry by any other name still tastes as sweet!


4. Umm…how do I remove strawberry stains?

Caught off guard by an overly juicy berry? Run cool water over the stain, then soak for 15 minutes in a solution made with one quart cool water, ½ teaspoon liquid laundry detergent and one tablespoon white vinegar. Rinse again, then wash normally (with bleach, if the fabric can handle it).


5. Why do I feel amazing after eating strawberries?

Because they’re super good for you! Strawberries rank in the top 20 of antioxidant-rich fruits, and just one cup of strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange. It doesn’t hurt that they’re ridiculously juicy and delicious too. So eat up!


6. What can I dip them in?

Our favorite question of all! Panera Fat-Free Poppyseed Dressing is a flavor match made in heaven, or try Reduced-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette for a sweet-and-tangy contrast.


7. Is it normal to wax poetic over strawberries?

Completely. Famous historical poets (including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and William Butler Yeats) have drawn inspiration from these ruby-colored gems, and our customers have caught the enthusiasm too. Here are a couple of our favorite poetry submissions from Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad fans:

What shall I eat at Panera Bread?

No sandwich or soup…a salad instead.

Fresh fruit with a dressing, so tart and so sweet.

Strawberry, poppyseed…ooh, what a treat!
Leslie Feagan
Brunswick, OH

On the way home from a long, long day,

Husband’s first words: “What’s tonight’s entrée?”

My reply is, of course, my delight

As I pull into Panera to pick up a bite.

You see, Strawberry Poppyseed Salad is my staple,

And for hubby, Tomato Basil Soup to set on the table.

Moral of the story is so plain to see:

All the food is great, and that is my guarantee!
Mary Hutchins
Rochester, NY