Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Whisper in his ear all her favorite fruits and the most exotic places they are cultivated...

I like nearly all fruits. Even my exceptions I don't actually believe to be exceptions - that is, I am convinced that if I lived somewhere where guavas grew, I would have the opportunity to try an excellent guava and would come to love them as much as I do pretty much every other fruit. That said, I have a fresh fruit hierarchy, like anyone else. Someone blogged about his or her fruit favorites list sometime in the last week (but I've forgotten who, so I can't credit.) At any rate, all things (like ripeness and peak-of-season perfection) being equal, my fruit ranking would be thus:

The top, the top, Tower of Pisa:
Black cherries, blackberries, red raspberries, blueberries, figs, pomegranates, pears, apples, passionfruit.

Still excellent, but not quite as adored:
Plums, peaches, mangoes, Concord grapes, strawberries, pineapple, lychee, melons.

Very nice and all, but I won't go out of my way for them:
Green or red grapes, guava, papaya, starfruit, grapefruit, rhubarb.

I expect the most surprising thing in this list is the relatively low placement of those two universally adored fruits, strawberries and peaches. It's not that I don't like them: I do. But I don't get the same thrill from them that I do from the "A" list fruits, except under the right circumstances.

The right circumstances for peaches have been coming fast and furious in the last few weeks.

Some years are better for one fruit or another. Last year was a great year for pears. This spring was lousy for strawberries, but this year's peach crop has been fantastic. J. brought me three beautiful peaches this weekend, so juicy I had to eat them over the sink, sweet and perfumed. And last weekend, I made these little peach cobblers. There's something about having your own individual serving of cobbler that is particularly satisfying. Nothing special to the recipe, just a standard drop biscuit dough, unsweetened, over peaches lightly sweetened, thickened with a small amount of tapioca, and flavored with just a squeeze of lemon juice. I like to bake the peaches for about 15 minutes before covering with the dough, which gets sprinkled witha little sugar. As you can tell from the picture, these spilt over a bit in the oven, but they were plenty juicy anyway.

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Magda said...

Thank you for your lovely blog! I've been rambling in the food blogosphere for a few weeks and yours is one of my favorites. I live in Poland but over the past 3.5 years have spent a year in the US.

I have some of the same fruit preferences as you. My list would be as follows:
Top tier, can't get enough in season: black cherries, peaches, watermelon, a perfect apple (like a not quite ripe Cortland), wild strawberries, fresh figs (had some off the tree in Greece; it's one of my best food memories)
Second tier, still love them but don't crave them so much: strawberries (in late May-early June), pineapple, mango (the kidney-shaped yellow variety that I could only get in California), oranges, wild blueberries, nectarines
Neutral (like them well enough but won't choose them if there are other options): pears, plums (except in baked goods, where they are my favorites), apricots (ditto), cultivated blueberries, grapes
Non-favorites: papaya (don't like the meaty flavor), persimmon (but never had one where they are grown), rhubarb, sour cherries

I also noticed that some of my preferences have changed over time. I used to like grapes best of all and ate them by the ton in California, all the available varieties, and now I seem to have had my share of them.

Thanks for an inspiring topic!

Helen said...

Oh yum -- these look so good. I know what you mean about peaches. They are in my B list too (vs. apricots that are in my A list). But this year, they've been so awsome! I put them together with raspberries and topped with oatmeal, almond, brown sugar crisp type topping and it was the best peach dessert I've ever had. All because those were the best peaches I've had in a long time. There is something about fruit combinations that sometimes bumps them up to a higher list for me. For example, a regular peach is just a peach, but a peach with raspberries, is really something. Same with black cherries (I am a sour cherry girl). I don't really like black cherries in desserts, but when combined with apricots, they are incredible.

Sorry, I'll stop rambling now. It's just that your posts are so thought provoking...

Emma C said...

Just found your blog via Apartment Therapy--nice! Nice to find another Bostonian in our midst.
Say, where are you getting your peaches from? I go to the Farmer's Market in Copley Square and have been disappointed with the crop these past few weeks--all bruised (overly so, even for farm fruit) and mealy. Honestly, the ones from the supermarket have been better. Meh? Apples have been fantastic, though.

Pyewacket said...

Emma C -

My boyfriend has been buying me great peaches (I know - isn't that sweet?) from the Union Square Farmers' MArket. Not sure which stand. I had a few good ones early in the season from a stand at the Mission Hill Market (there are only two farms there, and this is the one that isn't Drumlin). I'm afraid that's not the most helpful response. Of course, it's not just the year, but also the trees, the varieties. One variety can be great for a few weeks, then it's replaced by another that's not very exciting.

Emma C said...

Thanks for the tips! Mayhaps I'll check out Union Square this week, though I may have missed the proverbial Peach Boat. Pears are now in season though! Had such a fantastic breakfast this morning--just fresh Bosc pear, cottage cheese, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mmmm!