I’d never given much thought to which season was my favourite. They all have their charms and irritations. I find myself newly entranced, however, by the delights of Autumn. Walking through the park and wading through a mountain of leaves, seeing them fall like golden snow from their branches, beautifully reflected in the water. Being able to wear shorts and sunglasses while opportunistically collecting conkers and snuggling into a blanket while eating outside a restaurant. Delightful.
Perhaps my eyes have been opened by a recent visit I made to the ‘Pumpkin patch’ with some new American friends. Picture the scene – more pumpkins, in more types, shapes, colours and sizes, than I had previously thought possible (though I’m told the event was small by American standards), arranged in a charming farmyard, complete with pumpkin soup, cake and a corn maze. There were even pony rides. What’s not to love? Needless to say, my class are carving pumpkins at school this week.
So thanks Autumn, you’ve opened my eyes. Please don’t leave too soon.
What can you do with a pomegranate?
Having come across three pomegranates this week, I feel like I need to come to a decision about them. Friend or foe? Fruit or vegetable? Corey or peely?
It doesn’t fit into any of my ‘fruit categories.’ There’s the eat the fruit and throw away the core/stone type (apple, pear, peach, plum etc.), the peel and eat type (banana, pineapple, orange, kiwi etc.) and the pop the whole thing in type (berries, grapes etc.).
I guess you do peel a pomegranate, but then what? Crazy little mini-grape-like seeds and an explosion of red juice. The seeds are almost berries and they do have a pip in the middle which you could chuck away. It confounds categorization!
It seems that while vegetables are here to cheer me up in my pre-Christmas stress, pomegranates are here to infuriate and confuse me.
I’ve been collecting some opinions about this perplexing ‘fruit’. My mum said that you’re supposed to ‘roll it on a table, collect the juice and eat the seeds’. My colleague recollected eating the seeds with a pin?!
I presented one to my class and gathered their ideas. Apparently it smelt like a ‘gone off apple’ and tasted like a grape/cherry. There was much ooing and aahing at the pretty star pattern inside. I can’t deny it is a rather handsome fruit (inside at least).
In short, pomegranates are perhaps the most bizarre fruit in existence. I sure can’t get my head around them.
Just thought. Rhubarb – where the heck does that fit? Good for sword-fighting though. Pomegranates can’t do that. Ha!
Everyone I’ve spoken to recently has seemed stressed out and tired. I guess it’s that whole christmas marathon/dark evenings/dark mornings/I’ve got to direct the Nativity play/what will the neighbours think if I haven’t hand made my christmas cake by now (delete as appropriate) feeling. Or it could just be the old chestnut that is overwork + lack of sleep.
Anyway, I’d like to share one strategy I have developed to deal with the stresses and strains of 21st Century living. When I’m feeling run down, I simply let the vegetables cheer me up. Now bear with, this will make sense with a little explanation!
Are you stressed at the end of a hard day at work?
Admire a magnificent fennel and giggle at the way it looks like a rather ill man with a fluffy hairdo. Then you can marvel at how a vegetable can taste like liquorice!
Are you overburdened and under-appreciated?
Reach for the nearest bunch of cavolo nero (it’s a large, dark green cabbagey thing) and turn two of its crunchy leaves into rabbit ears, bounce around the kitchen and feel your stress fall away (probably best to do that at home).
Feeling like Christmas can’t be over soon enough?
Turn a parsnip into a comedy nose and surprise someone with a grotesque new face!
To be honest, just the challenge of buying a new type of vegetable and cooking with it (once you’ve stopped hopping round the kitchen) helps me to relax. It has certainly given me a whole new excitement when visiting my local green grocers/Tesco’s fruit and veg isle.
So why not take up the de-stress veg challenge? Just think of all the fun that’s in store…
PS. Vegetables are also good for you apparently.
PPS. How can you not love vegetables after looking at the following picture?