When I rolled out of my warm bed this morning, I was greeted with this view. It is cold and dreary, but I had a bit of cheer in the kitchen. While at Trader Joe’s on Saturday, I spied quite a steal: A pound and a half of blueberries for under $6. Although I love many of the fruits that are in season right now, I’ve really started to miss berries. This was a deal that I couldn’t pass up. Of course, these blueberries were grown in Chile and distributed by some company in California, so I’d rather not discuss their impact on my carbon footprint.
There is a lovely farmer’s market on Saturdays near my apartment, and, during the summer, I often find myself standing in a long line to get beautiful strawberries, blueberries and blackberries from the people at Westmoreland Berry Farm. The lines are long with good reason. The berries are amazing. Fragrant, ripe and beautiful, they just beg to come home with you.
I can’t say that I had quite the same experience with my big carton of blueberries from TJ’s, but they aren’t bad. They don’t have that freshly picked and still warm from the sun aura about them. They don’t come in a cardboard container stained with berry juice and unloaded from the back of a truck by a kid earning some extra summer spending money. They do not have a tantalizing fragrance that reaches your nose way before you get to the front of the line, but they do resemble blueberries closely enough in both taste and color that I’ve been pretty happy to have them as a little break from my apples, oranges and pears.
With the exception of fresh peaches from the Swihart orchard near my hometown, I used to view fruit as more of an ingredient than a food. I liked my bananas in a pudding, my strawberries in a shortcake, and my apples with some kind of creamy dip. I rarely ate fruit on its own. That is one major change I’ve seen in my eating habits. I still love those things, and might have them every once in awhile– don’t get me wrong. Now, however, I love most of my fruit fresh and unadorned, and I always try to keep plenty of it around. I keep berries and bananas in the freezer for smoothie making purposes, usually have at least one can of mandarin oranges on hand, and keep some frozen cranberries and dried fruits around to toss into oatmeal. There are lots of ways to enjoy fruit, but what’s the best bang for my buck when the weather is cold and fresh choices are limited or really pricey?
Well, keep in mind that I’m no nutritionist, but I did read a useful article in my weekly Washington Post Lean & Fit newsletter today. If you want to hear some actual experts discuss some pros and cons of using fruit in its different forms, you might want to check it out! I think the very last statement is the most useful:
“Any of it is good. If you eat it, you’re going to get nutrients from it.”
What a positive and comforting statement. It is easy to get hung up on which kind is best, but the bottom line with regard to fruit is really: Just eat it! How easy!
Speaking of easy, I found a really good and easy snack combination today: Lemon Cream Pie yogurt, fresh blueberries and crunchy Fiber One cereal. Blueberries and lemon just “go together” in my mind, and the combo always reminds me of a blueberry lemon pound cake that I used to love. This snack was very delicious and very filling, and had oodles less calories than the pound cake. You can also see some Republic of Tea Pomegranate Cherry Green Tea and my little desk sized fruit bowl hanging out in the background. As I said in yesterday’s post, I believe in being prepared!
How are you eating your fruit these days? What’s your favorite? Dipped in chocolate is a valid answer, especially if you are talking about strawberries. Seriously. I’d love to hear from you. If you haven’t been eating much fruit, think about trying to add some in to your day. Just eat it!!
P.S. To my friends and family in Arkansas and Missouri who are currently covered by a big sheet of ice: I’m wishing you a warm evening and a functioning power source!