Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Fruit: "O Taste And See"

Fragrant, ripe summer fruit is piling up now in profusion in produce markets everywhere. Few pleasures surpass that first sweet taste of the melons, peaches, plums and berries of summer.  The most flavorful fruit is best sought in farmer's markets, fruit stands, small produce markets and in the yards and gardens of generous friends and neighbors. Summer is the time to revel in a little sweet excess; if you come across enticing fruit in the market, splurge a bit and bring home a few extra pounds to enjoy.

Certain fruits like peaches and berries were not designed for "shelf life" and should be eaten soon after picking. If handled carefully,  ripe fruit can be kept for a few days in the fridge. Melons, plums, nectarines and grapes may be stored a bit longer.  Check your fruit inventory daily. Plan to use ripe or bruised fruit that day, perhaps in a smoothie or fruit salad. Let melons and stone fruits ripen on the kitchen counter; their fragrance will tell you when they are ready to eat.

Denise Levertov was one of the foremost American poets of the 20th century. Her poem "O Taste And See" was published in 1962. 

O Taste And See 

The world is
not with us enough.
O taste and see

the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination's tongue,

grief, mercy, language
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform

into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being

hungry, and plucking
the fruit. 

-- Denise Levertov, 1923- 1997