Purple-Stained Fingers

June 18, 2009 § 1 Comment

Last Friday when I came downstairs, my father was eating lunch. On the table before him was a lone blackberry sitting in a plate.

“Where did that come from?!” I demanded. I had not been aware that we had any blackberries in the house, and I definitely would have known, because they are one of my absolute favorite fruits.
“Guess,” my dad said, smiling.
“…From…the fridge?” I felt pretty stupid. Where else could it have been from? What was he getting at?
“No, it’s from our house,” he responded.

My eyes widened. “We have a blackberry tree in our backyard?!?” The very thought of it imparted great joy as well as disbelief. I had never noticed a blackberry tree in our yard before…

“I’ll give you 10 minutes to find it,” my dad challenged. “I only picked one just to show you that there are more. Your mother kept telling me to chop it down but I never did, and it’s a good thing I didn’t.”
“No, not now, I’m hungry,” I replied, and heated myself a slice of leftover pizza.

After lunch, I took a cup to the backyard with me, anticipating a bountiful harvest. I stalked around the plentiful flora we have behind our house but couldn’t find a single blackberry. “It couldn’t possibly in the front,” I thought, but went to check anyway.

To my utter shock, the tree right in front of our house was laden with unripened fruit. “How is it possible that we never noticed this before, after four years of living in this house?” I wondered. My mother later postulated that perhaps this year was the first year that the tree had matured enough to bear fruit, since our house is only 11 years old. Makes sense — I sincerely hope that the fruit isn’t like the cicada, only emerging once every 17 years [it seems very doubtful, but I still worry].

Over 13 years ago, before Larry had been born, my family lived in St. Louis in an apartment complex. Right outside the opposite building grew a blackberry tree that my friends and I would ravage every summer to our great delight. This was my first recollection of blackberries, and I carry the happy memories with me still. Fresh blackberries taste a hundredfold better than those bland monstrosities that are sold in stores [those are very big and beautiful, but pretty tasteless].

The blackberries outside my house had finally ripened when I checked on them yesterday, and I collected a good number of them, staining my fingertips in the process. It reminded me of a picture book from my childhood, Blueberries For Sal. I’ve never really liked blueberries, but that book always made me drool.

I was planning on making something that I had seen in Cookie magazine [don’t ask me why I am subscribed to a parenting magazine; I have no idea]. I cannot find the recipe anywhere online, but it’s basically a healthy alternative to regular cupcakes, using melon as the “cake” and Greek yogurt mixed with honey and food coloring as frosting.

As I did not have either a cookie cutter or food coloring for the yogurt, my creations did not turn out as beautiful as the ones pictured in the magazine. However, the honeydew I picked out was surprisingly sweet, and I was satisfied with the results, even though they took a loooong time.

I would’ve taken pictures of the process [as if I were a real foodie blogger!] but my camera was inconveniently out of batteries when I took it out, and didn’t finish charging until I finished making the fruit cupcakes. The yogurt was a LOT more watery than the magazine picture had led me to believe, which made them kind of messy to handle, but I gave one to the pickiest person I know [my brother], and even he liked it. Success!

I would like to thank the whoever had the brilliant idea of planting a blackberry tree in front of this house. Really, everybody should have one [unless they hate birds. This thing attracts a lot of birds].

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