Let’s be honest, life’s a bit monotonous these days and so I got really excited last week when I read that 2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Yes!
My childhood did not feature either very much. Vegetables may have been carrots, or, in late summer, runner beans (which could be stringy) going into the Brussels sprout season (yuk! yuk!). Turns out the little blighters were cultivated in Belgium in the 15th century, hence the ‘Brussels’ part of the name. In German they are Rosenkohl, literally rose cabbage which I think is an excellent description. Bitter rose cabbage would be even better.
Fruit was tinned, eaten on Sundays at teatime; maybe Australian cling peaches, or mandarin oranges, both served with evaporated milk (yuk! yuk!) and, inexplicably, slices of bread and butter. Once, I remember there were tinned pears, which were hideously sickening in their grainy-ness. I always had problems with the consistency of food.
What is a cling peach I hear you asking?
“Peaches can be classified by three different pit types: cling, semi-cling, and freestone. Cling peaches are the type where the fruit is woven into the pit. Freestone are those varieties where the pit is separated from the flesh. Semi-cling are an in-between fruit where the flesh is attached but not wholly embedded into the pit.” Cling Peaches – The FruitGuys
Anyway, finding out about this special year coincided with our local supermarket having kiwis on special offer, 15 cents per kiwi. I can’t remember when I had my first kiwi, but it was certainly not a common fruit in Europe until comparatively recently. They used to be called ‘Chinese Gooseberries’ and it wasn’t until New Zealand decided to go for the crop in a big way that the name was changed, gooseberries not being the world’s most popular fruit.
I remember they used to cost one German Mark per fruit. They were an expensive and exotic luxury. In the meantime, most of the kiwis we get in Europe are grown in Italy, and they are cheap.
I never quite know what to do with them. They feature in hotel buffet breakfasts (remember those!) and I sometime slice one and mix with grapes for the top of a Pavlova, but it is not my fruit of choice for snacking.
However, 15 cents per fruit was too much of a bargain to resist, and so ten unripe kiwis have been sitting in the dining room all week. We looked for a recipe for a cake, and found one which needed a Waldmeister flavour jelly.
Now, Waldmeister (Sweet Woodruff) is a very German thing. A Waldmeister jelly is bright green and tastes of perfume. The plant itself (which grows in abundance in our garden) is really quite nice, and is used for a popular punch:
Hmmn, I think I will try making some of that this year. I see one can also make syrup.
Anyway, my lovely husband make the cake yesterday (see header) and I can confirm it’s delicious.
My participants always had such fun learning the vocabulary for fruits and vegetables, especially loving words like asparagus and cauliflower. So I hope you all enjoy this Sesame Street video: Name that fruit!