I most remember eating these things growing up: zucchini, yellow squash, raspberries, lima beans, rhubarb, and beets. We had an enormous garden, and these seemed to be the staples year after year. (More about the summer that horseradish cannibalized the entire garden later…) My Mom is a great comfort-food-loving home cook, and worked wonders concocting new recipes for the absurd quantity of squash our garden yielded. I’m quite certain that she still has a healthy stockpile of zucchini bread in the freezer to this day.
Of course at the time I never appreciated how much of our food didn’t come from a grocery store. The good news is, I grew up eating foods sans pesticides and preservatives well before “organic food” and “locavore” were buzz words. The less-good new is that I was in my 20’s before I ventured into the market and discovered a produce section chock-full of fruits and vegetables that had never crossed my plate before. (Like garlic. *gasp* I know. How the woman managed to conjure up delicious food without this staple is a testament to her culinary craftiness.)
This is all background information (and perhaps an excuse to myself) for my tendency to wander through the produce section of the local market for seemingly hours on end, wide-eyed and giddy as kid on Christmas morning. So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite games is to find some new plant that I’ve never seen before, buy copious quantities, take it home, cook it up, and feed it to SM, my (usually) food-adventurous, and (always) shenanigan-tolerant boyfriend.
This week, I literally was stopped dead in my tracks by the most beautiful little perfect pearls of sweet light green. It’s officially love at first sight: Honeydew Nectarines. They do quite resemble little honeydew melons, though are about the size of a plum. Their taste is very nectarine-y, though even better. They have this wonderful meaty texture, sort of akin to a mango, and when you sink your teeth into that first bite, you are enveloped by the fruit’s sweetness all the way down to your toes.
Originally I had visions of cooking these little puppies up into a delicious tart or pie, but after sampling one it seemed criminal to cloak their naked flavor with sugar and pastry. This is a seriously good piece of fruit, people. We’re talking juice-running-down-your-chin-with-each-bite-deliciousness. Apparently they are only grown on one farm in California, and only for a few short weeks. So do not walk, in fact run very very fast, to your favorite produce stand and don’t leave until you have a satchel full of these goodies. Then come back and let me know what you thought.