July 13, 2014

New Fruits

According to the botanical definition, peas are a fruit. From Wikipedia:
In botany, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant that derives from specific tissues of the flower, one or more ovaries, and in some cases accessory tissues. Fruits are the means by which these plants disseminate seeds.
Of course, in the kitchen, peas are a vegetable, but I thought I'd show some botanical fruits from the garden in this post, whether we treat them as fruits or as vegetables on our dining tables. It's the height of the pea season right now, and I'm spending time picking, shelling, and blanching peas for the freezer, a real treat during winter.

The zucchini are beginning to form, dwarfed by the magnificent squash flower.

In our short growing season here in Vermont, we can't expect tomatoes until late July or early August, and that is only for the early varieties, like these delicious Sungold cherry tomatoes.

The cucumber has a smaller flower than the squash, and its tiny beginning is decoratively spiked.

These baby bell peppers still have the remnants of their flowers on their surfaces.

With a similar flower to the cucumber, the itty bitty melon is beginning to swell. If the flower is pollinated, it will grow into a delicious hybrid honeydew, Orange Honey. If not, it will wither away.

There have been lots of bumble bees and wild bees and other pollinators in the garden, so I have high hopes for my squash and melon crops. This is a tiny pumpkin whose flower has not yet opened. When I look at the spiny surfaces of pumpkin and melon and cucumber, I think that these prickles must have evolved to protect the fruit.

And here are two fruits that we eat as fruit: raspberries, not yet red ripe.....

.....and blueberries, closer to being ready to pick for fresh eating, for desserts, for jam, and for freezing. So much potential in the garden, so much to look forward to eating!

And to round off the fruits growing at my house, a very small mushroom, the fruiting body of a fungus,  whose tiny spores have the same purpose as the larger seeds of the fruits and vegetables above: life spreading and perpetuating.

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