Introduction. Strawberry is basically a temperate fruit, but, due to its
short production cycle (100–120 days), it has now become the fastest growing crop in the
tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Asian nations. In India, farmers of northern
plain regions transplant the strawberries before the onset of the winter and keep on
harvesting until early summer. Not much is known about the impact of the harvesting season
(winter and summer) on the accumulation of health-promoting substances or on quality
traits. Considering the existing research gaps and practical utility, the present study
was undertaken. Materials and methods. Four varieties were grown on raised
beds with black polythene mulch, and a drip and fertigation system. Fruits were harvested
at the ¾ colour (scarlet) development stage and observations were recorded on different
physiological and functional attributes consecutively during three harvesting months.
Results and discussion. Our results indicated that both cultivars and
harvesting months affected the physiology and functional quality of strawberry fruit.
Anthocyanin, ascorbic acid and total antioxidants were found to be higher during March.
Ascorbic acid content registered ≈ 50% reduction during advance summer harvesting (April).
Among the tested varieties, Camarosa gave better results during all three harvesting
months in terms of desirable quality traits. Conclusion. Our findings show
that there are some varieties such as Camarosa which have the potential to produce
functionally superior fruits over other cultivars even during early summer. The
information presented may be helpful in selection of suitable cultivars, and postharvest
handling and processing measures for strawberry fruits harvested during different