Pumpkins are a symbol of the fall harvest. They invoke in us the feeling that summer is over and winter approaches. As the leaves on trees turn, pumpkins are harvested and piled up in attractive displays in the grocery stores, ready for us to pick, choose, and buy.
Over the next three months apples are in full bloom and while I can get them year round in my market, the fall season is the time they really shine. But what is an apple and where did it come from?
The Traveling Apple
Apples were once tart, bitter, and almost inedible. The tree can be traced back to Kazakhstan and the surrounding area. Apples belong to the Rose family (as well as peaches) and at one time there were over 10,000 varieties of apples. Today there are about 7,000 classified varieties. In the American market we see only a handful of these apples.
Lemons have been around for thousands of years. In all the articles I examined, I found that experts can’t agree on where they originated. Speculation says they come from Northern India, Burma, and/or southern China. Lemons are a cross breed between lime and citron. Citrus has long been domesticated and genetically altered. One of the more easily manipulated plants, lemons have been cross-bred with a variety of other citrus. No matter where they are from, this remains fact.
What’s in season in June? I live in the Valley of the Sun, one of the hottest places on the earth in the summer. We are blessed with moderate climates and long growing seasons, yet, when the hottest months of July and August hit, nothing grows. If there are plants in the garden I make sure they are zoned for the hardiest conditions and that they are watered well.
Welcome to the month of strawberries. Let it be known that in our house strawberries rule. When they are in season and on sale I purchase them and make strawberry jam, strawberry syrup (for ice cream, lemonade, and waffles), strawberry compote, strawberry ice cream, and now, strawberry salsa. There are many more things you can do with strawberries, but one of my favorite things to do is just eat them until I can’t eat anymore. It’s kind of like blueberries: stuff them in your mouth until you can’t stuff any more.
November is National Pomegranate month, so before the month ends, I wanted to write a little about the history and uses of this many-seeded, delectable fruit.
Growing up in Arizona, pomegranates were one of the joys of winter season. They were prolific here in the Southwest. My dad was a gardener and worked where there were many pomegranates. He would bring them home during season for us to eat. I loved cracking them open and just picking out the seeds one by one. Some people like to pop them out into a bowl. Not me. The challenge was how to get the seed out of the pocket with the juice intact.