I love summer. Mostly because I love summer food. That and not being cold all day, every day!
Winter food is basic, it's all about comfort. I do love winter food, don't get me wrong (okay, okay so maybe I just love good food!). There's nothing like a delicious soup to warm the cockles of your heart on a cold winters day. But summer. Ah, summer. Berries. Stone fruit. Sweet delights ripened by the summer sun.
We've been back visiting our roadside stall on Totara Street this year. Amazing Hawkes Bay fruit, at cheap-as prices. Drip down your arm nectarines for $3/kg. Soft and fragrant peaches for $4/kg. Omega and Black Doris plums. Oh my goodness. Bliss. These red fleshed plums are about the only sorts I like, and you pretty much never come across them in the shops. And this week? New season Royal Gala apples from Gisborne. Still a little light on flavour, but crisp and sweet none the less.
We picked our first blueberries of the summer this week. I really like blueberries. I really, really, really like picking blueberries. There's something in my nature that just loves harvesting. Gazing at a heavily laden bush, feeling the warm fruit in my fingers, picking the best, darkest, softest, melt-in-your-mouthest blueberries! Munchkin likes blueberry picking too. But he has yet to learn to keep any in his bucket! Boyo is not so keen. It tends to get a bit hot for him out there in the blueberry patch. Plus, he doesn't have that near-compulsive need to get 'that last one' or 'that other last one' or 'just a few more' like I do. Grin. You get the idea? This compulsive thing can be a bit difficult when it is time to go home. But I do pick really well. I like to be efficient, and I like to get good quality fruit.
I'd carefully saved some money the past couple of months so we had enough to pick blueberries. It's the only way we can afford them. At $10/kg to pick your own, they are still some of the most expensive fruit we ever buy. But totally worth it. Packed full of antioxidants and other good stuff, easy to prepare and eat, and delicious. I now have 20 cups of blueberries stashed in my freezer. 20 little zip lock bags ready for smoothies, blueberry and apple crumble, porridge, or just frozen snacking (Munchkin is particularly fond of eating things directly from the freezer - he has a knack of turning up when we are getting peas or corn out for dinner and insisting on a few!).
The other delight this summer?
Tomatoes! We actually have TOMATOES! From our GARDEN! You wonder at my excitement, but seriously, the past few years we've had disease after disease with the toms. It is so nice to finally have enough to eat my fill. No rationing. No supermarket substitutes. Just chock-full of tangy sweetness cherry tomatoes. The absolute best ones are the Black Cherry Tomatoes. They aren't really black, just this funny murky maroon colour. The layers of organic matter and sulfate of potash fertilizer have paid off this summer. Bonanza tomatoes all over the vines. Now I just need to remember to water often enough for them to survive. And try to avoid stink beetles which have recently taken up residence. Ugh. I don't expect we will have enough tomatoes to do anything other than eat them. I didn't plant extra bushes. I don't have the time for bottling or sauce making. I already did my sauce making dash this year. So it will be tomatoes on toast, tomatoes in casserole, tomatoes for breakfast, and afternoon snacks, and dinner. Yay! I am rather partial to tomatoes.
What's your favourite summer food?