how sweet it is...naturally
Now it's the fruit.
These days, and for about a decade now, the best part of summer is all the fruit in the markets that we don't see any other time of year. Oh, and flowers. Summer months have a dozen varieties of flowers that we don't see the rest of the year, but to me the fruit is even more special. I get downright giddy when I walk into a grocer or even better stop at a farmer's market or roadside produce stand and see for the first time in the year, canteloupe and honeydew melons. Something I really like about the melons is the surprise inside: by looking at the rind you wouldn't guess what color the flesh will be. A canteloupe's innards, aka muskmelon, mushmelon, rockmelon, look like orange sherbet and tastes just as sweet. Calorie-wise it's pretty low, fat is nearly non-existent, carbs aren't extreme and come from the fruit's natural sugar, and you get hefty doses of potassium and calcium and a handful of other good-for-you vitamins. All from this melon that is oh so pretty inside.
For a few months every year we have something other than bananas, lemons, limes and apples to fill our bellies and quench a sweet tooth the natural way. I can eat a pint of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries guilt-free. My stomach won't appreciate my indulgence but my taste buds will. Eat a pint of some unnaturally sweet but delicious something, like chocolate almond ice cream, and the guilt would ride on my shoulders - and hips - for days. But fruit? Nope. No guilt.
Fruit is a Crayola box of colors. The reds of strawberries, cherries, raspberries, the pink of watermelon and grapefruit, the purple red of a plum. Kiwi with its light shade of green, honeydew, even lighter. There's the white peach and near white of a pear. And blueberries, a True Blue food of which there are few. Concord Blue grapes are a dark blue but I haven't seen seen them here in U.S.A's midwest.
There's a spectrum of yellows and oranges: pineapple, mango, apricot, peaches, nectarines, plum, many varieties of oranges of course, tangerines and mandarins, the "Cuties" that are so totable.
The berries are the only non-surprise when it comes to color. Unlike all the fruits you have to cut into to eat, berries wear their colors. The blackberries in the photo above are such a dark purple they appear black. Curious about these berries I did a little reading about them. There's been a lot of media hype about blueberries and their many health benefits as antioxidants, but according to a couple medical sources, blackberries are as beneficial. They may prevent and slow the growth of cancers, maintain healthy brain function, they're good for the cardiovascular system and promote healthy skin AND reduce inflammation, fight infection and boost immunity. All this from a berry that is more similar in makeup to peaches and almonds than any other berry.
I raise my glass to blackberries! Well, maybe not right now because I'm writing this early in the day, but later...maybe a glass of blackberry wine, or any wine for that matter. It's all made from some sort of fruit, right?
Do you or have you grown any fruit trees? Have a favorite fruit or fruit recipe?