The summer has flown by and we find ourselves looking at the arrival of early harvest season. The strawberries and rhubarb of June, the blueberries and currants of July, have all ripened in the warm sunshine and been eaten by hungry snack scavengers. Now beckon the peaches and blackberries of August. How their lights shine bright! This post is a tribute to their satisfying sweetness.
Peaches are my favorite tree fruit. Sinking my teeth into a peach’s soft flesh feels like I’m eating a sunset. Warm and juicy straight from the tree branch, peaches are also delicious in pies, crisps, tarts, compotes, jams and baklava. They enhance the flavor of iced fruit teas and sangria.
In addition to being so scrumptious, peaches are packed with nutrients! Rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamins A, B & C, they are warriors in our bloodstream who fight disease and keep our eyesight strong. Also present in peaches are iron and flavonoids, the same type of chemical found in dark chocolate.
Peach trees were domesticated in China from around 6,000 B.C.E. They were brought to the Americas by the Spanish in the sixteenth century. The tree’s flowers blossom in early spring, but the fruit ripens in late summer. It’s a symbol of both purity, fertility and protection. A young peach tree makes a wonderful wedding gift.
Soft sweet blackberries melt on my tongue when I pop them in my mouth. The burst of flavor sends me to heaven! At least half the wild blackberries I’ve picked were eaten while I worked hard harvesting them among the brambles. The berries that make it to my home are usually washed and eaten topped with fresh whipped cream. Creamy black raspberry is my favorite ice cream. They are also loved by my family in pies, tarts and jams.
One of the top health benefits of blackberries is the lutein that protects eyes from cataracts, night blindness and macular degeneration. This makes me want to keep returning to our wild canes for more and more. The Vitamin C in blackberries promotes the production of collagen, which makes skin glow. The berries are low in sugars and high in fiber, so they are a great fruit to eat if you have diabetes. They are rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which work together to keep your bones strong. The Vitamin K in blackberries is good for blood circulation. So much goodness in one little berry!
Blackberries, or black raspberries, are symbols of prosperity, protection and fertility. In the Victorian era, they represented kind-heartedness. Artists love them for their rich color and use them as pigments in painting. I encourage you to squash some and draw a picture with them as a fun celebration of their precious beauty.