This week’s Back to Basics Cooking Series theme is supposed to be fruit desserts. It occurred to me, though, that fruit in and of itself makes a great dessert!
Never was this so clear as when I was in Uganda last summer. After a couple of weeks of eating mostly non-processed foods, I was stunned at how sweet their fruit was; how satisfying for breakfast or after a large meal. Of course, it was partly because the mini bananas and pineapples were picked ripe off the trees, rather than harvested green and shipped thousands of miles to my supermarket.
I am blessed to live in West Michigan, where many kinds of fruits are grown. Peaches, plums, pears, berries, apples, grapes, cherries, apricots . . . the list goes on. Apples, raspberries, blueberries, and other fruits grow wild and their flavor matches their environment.
That is not to say that I don’t still buy bananas and citrus fruit occasionally. If I were to buy solely local in winter it would be apples, which have an incredibly long storage life. I like apples well enough, but after several months, variety is desired. Luckily I froze some blueberries and strawberries last summer and canned some peaches. Amazingly, the peaches taste just as fresh as when I put them in the hot water bath. And my freezer jam? It’s like summer in my mouth. I can’t help but smile for at least half an hour afterwards.
It’s funny, but I don’t react that way to baked goods. As much as I appreciate a good cinnamon roll or a perfectly decorated cupcake (made by someone else, as my pastry skills are nonexistent), it doesn’t comfort my soul the way a perfectly ripe apricot right off the tree does. Or the first few strawberries of the season (sorry Florida, yours are better than California’s but they just don’t compare to Michigan’s). The sweet smell; the visual form of the fruit; the feel of the skin whether smooth plum, hairy strawberry or fuzzy peach; the tasty juice on the tongue . . . eating fresh fruit in season is almost a carnal experience.
So yes, you can bake your fruit in pies, freeze it into ice cream, hide it in muffins, cook it into a compote; but I prefer mine raw.
This post shared at Pennywise Platter Thursday