Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rosaceae Fragaria

Fragaria sp. "Parker Earl" by Deborah Griscom Passmore c.1892-1909
June is a fragrant month. You catch their perfume before you even see them: every corner market sets out baskets of edible rubies. Heavier than they look, and bursting with juice, it is best to eat them immediately lest they spoil before you taste them.  Grass sprouts all vibrant and wet, only to be mowed down, releasing that familiar green scent. Flowering trees wave their blossoms above the sidewalk, bathing pedestrians in botanical pheromones. Wild rose bushes grow thick with thorny protection and produce deceptively insubstantial flowers which can, none the less, send out powerful apian invitations.

Walking through the city is a pleasure in June.


Did you know that strawberries are not berries at all, but rather fruiting roses?


Along comes July to wilt us all. The word on the street is "humidex". Bright greens fade in the field, waiting for August to paint them gold. The air is heavy with moisture, and blue skies quickly turn deepest purple - clouding over at a moment's notice, flashing with electricity and pelting the earth with rain. July's perfumery consists of sun-baked sidewalks, chlorine and the savoury saliva-inducing sweet-burnt scent of barbecued meat. Which is tortuous for those of us without access to a porch or yard. I'm always looking for things I can drench in bbq sauce.

The strawberries are looking puckered and soft at the fruit stands, and it seems as if their season is coming to an end. Don't pass those suckers by though, even when they look a bit sad they're still good for freezing, blending and baking.

This is what I plan to do with the ones sitting in my fridge - Strawberry cupcakes. Mine won't be to celebrate a birthday (well, I could celebrate a little, since I do know a couple of sweet July babies) and I may add coconut. I don't relish turning on the oven, but one of those sudden summer storms just hit so maybe it won't be so bad. Besides, who can resist... just look at them:

Photo from The Muffin Myth

* Edit to add: I made those cupcakes Tuesday and they were DELICIOUS! Sadly I didn't have a ripe banana so I used Earth Balance instead of butter because that's what I did have on hand, and I tossed in a bit of unsweetened coconut. Totally lovely. Needless to say, they're already gone.

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