Friday, April 17, 2009


Jennifer is a cranberry. Well, obviously more than one cranberry because you can't just have one, that would do you no good. So, I guess she's the whole plant! Here's how Wikipedia describes the cranberry: "Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines... they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. (The fruit) is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness." Now, I'm not saying that Jennifer is low and creepy (no way!), but I do like the wiry stem description that helps one picture the petite likeness that is Jennifer. Add to that the pretty flowers and multi-colored berries that are ever changing as the berries mature, and that is her in all her beauty! But why am I so focused on the appearance of the cranberry? Mainly because when you see a whole cranberry it is not being presented to eat. Whole cranberries are put out as decoration and they enhance the celebration of the season which is not a bad thing. Not many fruits can pull that off. The first time I was introduced to the cranberry was in the canned, sauce variety. What's up with that?! I'd see it once a year at Thanksgiving and people would just sluff it out of the can, with all the lines and groves still apparent, and then slice it. YICK! Sorry, but there is nothing appealing about canned cranberry sauce. So now I make my own cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries. You have to boil them, with a little water, and then I add as little sugar as possible. If you put too much sugar in, it takes away from the true taste of the cranberry and that's no good at all. If the cranberry has no spunk, then it's just another sweet dessert and I don't need any of that. Cranberry juice is another popular way to partake of the cranberry. Most of what you find at the store is a sweetened variety, and that's OK for most people. It is probably one of my favorite juices, when I drink juice, because it is not too sweet like apple and grape juice. But if you want a really healthy version of cranberry juice, try the unsweetened version. You have to look pretty hard to find it but it's worth the search. I'll warn you that it is not like any "juice" you normally drink because it is super tart and acidic. I usually water it down to about half and half with lots of ice and drink it through a straw. Unsweetened cranberry juice is really good for you and can help you have a very healthy liver. I think Jennifer would like that about the cranberry.

Jennifer said, "Helena, I have to laugh! I love it! One might even say I come off a little bit too strong by your description? That was good! And yes, I do want people to be very very healthy!" Yep, I think this is true and I'm glad she laughed about it. Healthy people laugh, we all should do it more often. She also came up with this assessment of herself, which I suggested might be her husband, John, as well. I think it's interesting that we see ourselves in our spouses sometimes. She agreed that it could be him. We're also going to understand that the term "ugli fruit" could also be "uniq fruit", I just don't like the stigma associated with the word 'ugly'.

Ugli fruit.This is a little known and less understood fruit. It was accidentally discovered in Jamaica, and the origin and makeup of the fruit are a bit mysterious. It is believed to be a cross-breed of two or three fruits: the grapefruit, the tangerine, and possibly even the orange.It is not a showy fruit by any means. It hides itself within a thick leafy bush. It can also be a bit of a chameleon, changing it's outward appearance especially as it grows and matures. But by and large, it's appearance can be, well,generic. Looking somewhat like a grapefruit, it actually tends to be a bit lumpy with blemishes, hence it's name. By this, people may not view the fruit as appealing, appetizing, edible, or even a fruit at all. It has a thick skin which bruises easily, but also can be easily peeled to reveal the fruit beneath. And those who eat the fruit are shocked at their initial experience which can be described as surprising, refreshing, and unique all at once. Sweeter than a grapefruit, but tarter than a tangerine, this near seedless fruit can be eaten a variety of ways. It can be cut in half and scooped with a spoon and eaten like a grapefruit (no added sugar necessary), or it can be peeled into sections like an orange. As one learns and experiences more of the ugli fruit, one learns that it's subtle complexity of flavor lends itself well to a variety of dishes from breakfasts to desserts, making it a very versatile fruit to work with indeed. It is also a very juicy fruit and juices well. One little squeeze produces a high yield for delicious thirst quenching. But the ugli fruit has a very short season, and if one does not act quickly, one loses out on the experience altogether.

1 comment:

Marie said...

These are so very cute to read, I can't wait to be a fruit!