There is no doubt that strawberries should cost $50 or more but in Japan there is a stigma and those larger varieties are certainly more expensive. Now take the wooden box and the hand packing of individual strawberries in Styrofoam. It all adds up but I start to think that these are just for impressing friends and family. Yes the taste is excellent…and more than that as it lingers on and on…
Strawberries are the only fruit that have their seeds on the outside but technically a berry has its seeds on the inside. So each seed on a strawberry is considered by botanists to be its own separate fruit.
Benzyl acetate is found naturally in many flowers and in strawberry. It is the primary constituent of the essential oils from the flowers jasmine and ylang-ylang. It is one of many compounds that is attractive to males of various species of orchid bees, who apparently gather the chemical to synthesize pheromones; it is commonly used as bait to attract and collect these bees for study.
The one common denominator with most Japanese strawberries is the fact that while they taste great, the odors they leave behind in the fridge are often similar to the worst contaminants. The strawberry is sweet, red and starting to show some signs of decline, so watch out! These fruits are very sensitive and once they are picked ripe, they have a very short shelf-life.
Organic chemistry especially when it comes to foul-smelling components plays as much a part of those intense memorable flavors (Jasmine, etc) and aromas as it does with cadaverine, cadaver smells, putrescine for the stench of garbage, skatole from the Greek word literally meaning shit, or butyric acid the smell of rancid butter.
So what is that smell? The answer is simple: pure indole an organic compound present in feces and also in small part present in white flowers (such as jasmine, gardenia, orange blossom etc) doesn’t really smell of shit in isolation.
The white crystals of indole (mainly derived from coal-tar) contribute to the effect, in tandem with other things (surely both feces and flowers contain myriads of molecules) but not in separation so much. Isolated indole has a musty, weird moth-ball smell that is a little stale, reminiscent of decay, like something has gone off and you can’t really pinpoint what it is. In presence of humidity and musky compounds it can become a little much, reminiscent of the ambience of a toilet….ouch!….