With autumn in full swing and Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s hard to shop at the grocery store these days without bumping into displays of the season’s produce bounty.
Every morning the recipe widget on my Internet browser suggests delicious-sounding things I could make with fall’s crops of pumpkins, pears, apples, sweet potatoes or squash.
Out on the front porch our Halloween jack-o-lanterns have become squirrel food, and visions of bubbling cranberry sauce are starting to dance in my head.
This time of year tastes good.
In stark contrast to that was a recent Wall Street Journal article about a so-called “food of the future.”
Breadfruit trees, which are a tropical plant, can produce about 450 football-sized fruits per season, the article said.
Half a cup has about 120 calories plus high amounts of fiber and other nutrients, so breadfruit fans think it could help solve world hunger problems.
But, according to a Hawaiian horticulturalist quoted in the article, it tastes “like undercooked potatoes.”
Feeding the needy is a worthy goal, so if scientists or horticulturalists can make breadfruit into a practical meal for starving people, I’m all for it.
Really, how bland could it be?
I tried to find one so I could taste this tasteless fruit for myself, but apparently it’s not breadfruit season for my local grocers.
While I was in the tropicals section, however, a produce clerk offered me a wedge of kiwano melon.
Bland, kiwano is not. Sucking the vivid green pulp out of the bright orange spiky rind was like eating something halfway between a cucumber and a pomegranate.
I didn’t buy one, but it tastes a lot better than its unusual appearance might suggest.
What I did leave the store with were two classics of the California fall produce crop: a persimmon and a quince.
I’ve never eaten either fruit, so finding recipes for how to best use them will be another culinary adventure.
At the checkout line were coupons to help provide hungry people with healthy meals.
A $5 donation could buy breakfast for four people, the store said.
I was reminded again to be thankful that I don’t have to worry about where my next meal comes from, and of how blessed I am to have easy access to fresh, healthy food.
If the increase of urban produce markets and small city grocery stores we’ve seen this year continues, hopefully by next Thanksgiving more people will have that same access as well.
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