Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ceremony for Blueberries

You no doubt have already sensed it, a certain tingling around the edges as June shuffled off to make way for the ripe summer days of July and the long awaited arrival of National Blueberry Month! In fact, with 2009 it's now been 10-years our nation has set aside the month of July to recognize nature's purple antioxidant.

Harvested from April through early October, though reaching their peak, their bright bursting zenith, in July, the blueberry has long made its home in innumerable summer pies I've enjoyed. Cathy's been perfecting one blueberry pie recipe of late that gives the filling a hint of lemon zest that really brings out the fruit's freshness. It's pretty awesome.

In his awesome The Penguin Companion to Food, the late food guru Alan Davidson writes that it's only recently (1920) the blueberry was commercially cultivated, with selection and breeding "aimed not only at size but also a pleasing combination of acidity and sweetness."

How rarely we celebrate the food we eat. When National Blueberry Month was first proclaimed in 1999, the hope was that citizens would recognize and celebrate the blueberry "with appropriate ceremonies and activities." Which makes me wonder just what inappropriate blueberry ceremonies might look like.

Photo: Maria Sibylla Merian, Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumennahrung, 1730

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