You’re the berries! Another cute, but old-fashioned expression to tell someone how swell they are. So far this season the Bing cherries have been much too dear and I’ve bypassed the strawberries as I’m awaiting the plump, ripe and luscious ones to have sans sugar, or shortcake; in fact, since I gave up sweets several years ago, fruit satisfies my sweet tooth now. Michelle Obama would give me a thumbs up. As to berry delicious fruit, my mom anxiously would await the arrival of red currants every Summer. There was only a small window of opportunity to buy red currants and not all produce markets carried them. Many people told my mom to hang out her shingle “Pauline’s Pies” as that was her specialty. Mom would bake a red currant pie to die for. Red currants are very, very tart though, so if you are a fan of sweeter fruits, red currants would not be your cup of tea. I think the number one pucker-up-your-mouth fruit would be rhubarb. My grandmother always grew rhubarb in a corner of her yard. She, like me, was not a culinary genius and she’d take her paring knife out to the patch, whack off a few stalks and just enjoy them au naturel. Whenever we visited her in the Summer months, we’d saunter down the narrow sidewalk in her long and sunny backyard, which paved pathway was dotted from end to end with “Hens and Chicks” which flourished without any TLC or special fertilizers. By the garage was the corner where her rhubarb grew. The patch was decades old and most plants had monstrous leaves and huge stalks which when lopped off would quickly fill a sizeable sack. No worrying about pesticides in the garden in those days so a quick rinse and the rhubarb was good to go. The larger stalks were juicier and a tad sweeter and we’d rinse those stalks in hot water, and then while the stalks were still warm, we’d dip ‘em into a sugar pile which sat on a sheet of waxed paper for a tasty, tart treat. We’d take some rhubarb back to Michigan, but first my mom would spend a day hovering over my grandmother’s gas stove, stewing down the rhubarb and a few quarts of strawberries. That mouth-watering mixture simmered the better part of a day in a huge cast iron pot and the result was a tasty topping for toast or ice cream. Yum!!
I’ve been experimenting with the different fruits available at Meijer this Summer. It seems that every year there are more and more hybrid fruits and veggies available. So far in the 2013 growing season I’ve tried peachines (peach/nectarine combo) and a variety of pluots or apriplums (plum/apricot hybrid) including dinosaur egg pluots and even those cute and fuzzy mini plumcots which are either yellow (Gold Velvet) or purple (Black Velvet). They are nearly bite-sized and very sweet.
So, go ahead, just call me by my nickname: Tutti-Frutti.