Researchers Hoping to Make Generic Strawberries Tasty Again

After years of focusing on other attributes (size, color, shape), taste is coming back

While we all know that sometimes ugly things are the most delicious (heirloom tomatoes, Satsuma tangerines, etc.), and we all know that strawberry season isn't until the summer, we still can't help but buy those pretty strawberries from the grocery store every time we smell them, only to be disappointed. Those teases.

Turns out, strawberries are getting their due in research, as researchers and horticulturists at the University of Florida are working on finding ways to make strawberries sweeter.

LiveScience reports that a team of researchers at the University of Florida is focusing on finding compounds from wild strawberries and breeding them into commercial strains. Commercial strawberries have been bred for so long to increase berry size, shape, and color; flavor, however, has been forgotten.

So far, the researchers have been focusing on compounds from wild strawberries not found in the commercial variety. The molecule methyl anthranilate, which has a grapelike flavor, would add a more fruity flavor to the berry, University of Florida's Kevin Folta says.


Another compound called linalool reportedly evokes the flavor of Froot Loops (we just want this as an extract, please), and others bring out the aromas of pineapples and green grass. Unfortunately, it'll take about five years for better, sweeter varieties to hit the commercial market, so we'll have to wait until summer for the farmers' market varieties.