Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Berry Delightful by Norah Colvin

This is the third post from the archives of Norah Colvin and this week she shares her childhood memories of mulberries and her flash fiction that week in 2017 in response to the Carrot Ranch Literary CommunityIn 99 words (no more, no less) include music and berries. It can be fantastical, such as the music of berries or a story that unfolds about a concert in a berry patch. Go where the prompt leads.

Berry Delightful by Norah Colvin

mulberries

What is your favourite berry?

Which berries make your taste buds sing?

When I was a child, there was a huge Mulberry tree growing in the backyard of one of our neighbours who was kind enough to allow access to the multitude of children in our family. Each summer the tree would be laden with fruit and we would pull at its branches to gather as much as we could into buckets and bowls. We would go home stained with purple on our bodies and our clothes and, mostly, around our mouths. We couldn’t wait to eat and there were plenty to go around. Mum would bake mulberry pies and fill jars with mulberry jam that was delicious on our buttered bread for breakfast or lunch.

Since then, I have encountered few mulberries trees, only occasionally sourcing their leaves to feed voracious silkworm caterpillars. The berries themselves seem not to be harvested for store sales. However, I was recently reminded of Mum’s mulberry jam when I spotted some on a shelf at the Jamworks gourmet deli. I must admit though, while I resisted the mulberry jam, I couldn’t resist the fig and ginger variety.

gooseberries

The other berry that was most familiar to me as a child, but never since seen, was what we called the gooseberry. There were gooseberry plants growing by our back fence. I remember picking the berries, peeling back the outer leaves and eating the small fruit, which I think had quite a tart flavour. As I recall, Mum would also make jam, but not pies, with these.

strawberry torte

c) Norah Colvin

I recall that, even as a young adult, a serving of strawberries and cream had seemed a very luxurious and decadent dessert. Now strawberries are more affordable and readily available all year round. They are a favourite of my granddaughter. So much so that I need to have at least one punnet in the fridge for her when she visits. A strawberry torte is my family’s pick for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. I wrote about it and included the recipe here

In addition to strawberries, stores now have a variety available all year round; including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries. The berries make a wonderful filling for the other family favourite, pavlova.

pavlova

©Norah Colvin

But do you know what a berry is?

I checked with Wikipedia for the definition of a berry, and found that it is “a fleshy fruit without a stone produced from a single flower containing one ovary”.

Botanically, the following fruits (and vegetables) are berries:

Grapes
Currants
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Eggplants
Bananas
Kiwi fruit
Blueberries
Cranberries
Coffee beans
Pumpkin
Watermelon

and these, commonly called berries, are not:

Strawberries
Raspberries
Mulberry
Blackberry

Do you need to change your answers to my initial questions:

What is your favourite berry?

Which berries make your taste buds sing?

Or are you happy to go with common usage? If I write about mulberries, will I be fulfilling the requirements of Charli’s prompt? Perhaps I should write about picking watermelons instead.

Mulberry picking

Mulberry Stew

Branches hung heavy with berries in reach of even the youngest child. They ate more than they bucketed; but there were plenty, including for birds singing in higher branches. Mum had forbidden them. “Mrs Wilson’s poorly. Don’t disturb her.” But they couldn’t resist. They scampered the instant she called.

“Where have you been?” She eyed the purple stains.

“We …” the youngest began to sing.

“Nowhere,” they shushed with hands concealed.

“What were you doing?”

“Nothing.”

Her lips twitched. “Hand them over.”

Later they pondered together how she knew.

When Dad got home, they’d have to face the music.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

©Norah Colvin

About Norah Colvin

I am an experienced and passionate educator. I teach. I write. I create.

I have spent almost all my life thinking and learning about thinking and learning.

I have been involved in many educational roles, both in and out of formal schooling situations, always combining my love of teaching and writing by creating original materials to support children’s learning.

Now as I step away from the classroom again, I embark upon my latest iteration: sharing my thoughts about education by challenging what exists while asking what could be; and inviting early childhood educators to support children’s learning through use of my original teaching materials which are now available on my website http://www.readilearn.com.au

Connect to Norah via her websites

Website: www.NorahColvin.com
Website: www.readilearn.com.au

And social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NorahColvin
Twitter 2:  https://twitter.com/readilearn
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008724879054
Readilearn:  https://www.facebook.com/readilearnteachingresources/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/norah-colvin-14578777

My thanks to Norah for her berry delicious post and for clarifying the issue of what is or not a berry. It has certainly whet my appetite for a piece of pavlova…

Advertisements

76 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Berry Delightful by Norah Colvin

  1. I’m drooling, Sally and Norah…Thank you both.. .My favourites are raspberries – they always ‘deliver’ – while strawberries aroma can lie…Blackberries come second as we used to pick jugs-full in Wales when young and ‘Aunt Sal’ used to make blackberry and apple pie which smelled heavenly baked on the old black stove…xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps you read it when it was published on my blog, Robbie. I was surprised by a few of those berries, too. It shows how different common usage can be from scientific classification.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I eat berries on a regular basis, Norah and Sally, for the taste as well as for health benefits. Among 12 healthy foods high in antioxidants, 4 of them are berries – blue berries, strawberries, raspberries, and goji berries.

    I remember picking mulberry leaves to feed silkworms as a class project for preschool kids.
    What a fun childhood memories, Norah! I enjoyed reading it. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Sally, Thank you so much for sharing my post on your blog. I love that it stimulates further conversations and I get to hear other people’s ideas and experiences. It’s interesting that some berries are available the world over and others are very localised. I guess most of them were imported and cultivated here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always delighted to share your posts Norah.. We have a berry farm near to us and they stay with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries and I have to say eating them straight from the farm rather than imported is such a different taste experience. We don’t have many exotics except dried and I do miss the variety that we were used to in Spain for all fruit. Still from June to October we are definitely given the best… hugsxx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We had gooseberries on the Canadian prairies. They were good, but a bit tart. My favourite berries are blueberries. I eat them on my porridge, in my pancakes and muffins and with yogurt etc. I also enjoy blackberries which grow in abundance on the west coast of Canada and can be picked for free. And what about chokecherries. They make the best jam ever!

    Liked by 2 people

      • For good reason. Here is what I found on the internet.
        Chokecherry, (Prunus virginiana), also spelled choke cherry, deciduous shrub or small tree belonging to the rose family (Rosaceae), native to North America. It is aptly named for the astringent, acidic taste of its reddish cherries, which may be made into jelly and preserves. The stones and foliage are poisonous and may contain hydrocyanic acid in varying amounts.
        To make the jelly, we had to remove the stones by grinding the berries into a sieve. It was a lot of work but worth it in the end. The stones and foliage were discarded.

        Liked by 2 people

    • The information you provide about chokeberries is fascinating, Darlene. I often wonder how the processes required to make some of our foods edible was discovered. It would be fascinating to know. Some of the processes are quite involved so it makes me wonder how many lives were lost in the name of science (even before it was given that name).
      Blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins – you’ve made my mouth water! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Delightful post, Norah! I don’t think I have ever tasted a mulberry. I can picture children picking the berries. In school we all learned how to sing, “Here we go round the mulberry bush” as children. Your list of classifying berries was a big surprise to me! Lovely photos, too. Thank you Norah and Sally!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s delicious to enjoy this post again. I think I missed that pumpkins were listed at berries. Now I can say my favorite berry pie is pumpkin! Pavlovas are one of my favorite desserts. I think I will make one this year for my son and future DIL when we go to visit.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My neighbor had a big mulberry tree and I used to pluck them off the tree and eat them as a kid. Loved them. Your definition of a berry surprised. Learned something new.
    And, a clever twist on your flash fiction story. Couldn’t figure how you insert music.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up- Glenn Miller, Roses, Mexico, New Books, Reviews and Guests. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.