Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Pausing for Blueberry Reflections
A Taste Memory. Blueberries are luscious. For me, no other word is so apt to describe the taste of this fruit. Luscious. I have always loved these small, glorious berries. I discovered them in the wild when I was about eight. I lived in the mountains of North Carolina, in walking distance of my school and church if I cut through the woods behind my house. These woods were an old-growth forest of Southern stalwarts–pines, hickories, oaks, maples, and magnolias along with ferns, sassafras and blueberry bushes.

The Location. We lived on a well-traveled road on one side of these woods, and my school and church sat next to each other on a roughly parallel road on the other side. Through these woods ran a well-worn path lined by understory bushes, including sassafras, hollies, and two small but mature blueberry bushes. I admired the mitten-shaped leaves of the sassafras bushes, often stopping to hold my hand up to a leaf to see if it would fit, but I loved the fruit of the blueberry bushes.

The Lure. In warmer weather, I was allowed to walk home from school or church through these woods as long as I walked with my older sister or a friend who lived nearby. On occasion, I managed to follow the path alone. The blueberry bushes were my friends. I stopped and picked the biggest berries, the sweetest ones, and left the smaller ones to grow. Well, in the interest of complete honesty, I wasn’t acting sustainably at that young age; I had just learned the hard way that the the smaller berries were sour.

The Fruit. Why am I thinking about blueberries? Well, blueberries have been in the news for months now as one of the “new” superfoods. These berries, native to North America and a food staple for Native Americans from long ago, are full of antioxidants and many other nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. Many years after I first discovered blueberries, I still love this luscious fruit. I eat the berries as an afternoon snack, in my morning oatmeal, for dessert with yogurt and a drip of honey, and occasionally in pies and muffins. My favorite, however, hands down, is simply blueberry juice.

Bright Spot. Those two blueberry bushes belong to my North Carolina reflections, but I am in Iowa now, so here I buy pure organic blueberry juice from my local whole foods store in Fairfield and drink a glass full almost every day. When I swallow that cool, delicious blue liquid, and it slides richly down my throat, every cell in body says “Thank you. Thank you.” Although buying this juice is an increasingly expensive habit (the price has gone up steadily since the news about how healthy blueberries are hit the Internet and television), I cannot do without this juice. Blueberries remain a bright, bright spot in my day.

Image:

Royalty Free Stock Image: Wild blueberrie

ID 14997656 ©  | Dreamstime.com



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