Small Talk: A failure of fruit foresight

It appears I am just fruit-stupid.

When we first moved here, a tree in our backyard dumped pounds and pounds of beautiful, big apricots onto the ground every summer. At first I tried to pick them, but then they just spoiled in the bag. Even if we ate all we could, there were too many left. I tried to pawn them off on friends, but never had many takers. I was awash in apricots.

Why didn’t I stand for hours in the hot kitchen, peeling, pitting and stirring and pouring and making them into jam? Because it would have meant standing for hours in a hot kitchen, peeling and pitting and stirring and pouring. I’d have made a lousy pioneer wife.

What never occurred to me was the most obvious. Every morning now, with my oatmeal, I eat apricot sauce. Yes, it is just mashed up apricots in a jar, sort of like what used to be all over my lawn. It is delicious and I am paying $3 a jar for it. Had I realized how tasty this basic concoction was, I might have been willing to stand in that hot kitchen long enough to squish some of those apricots and dump them into jars.

The apricot tree scarcely bears anymore, as if to taunt me for my shortsightedness. And to add to my embarrassment, across the yard stands a pomegranate tree. For several years now, we have had bowls full of them, but all I ever saw was a fetching fall centerpiece. I have no vision.

When I wasn’t looking, pomegranates became the darling of the health food world and I find it really annoying. It means my husband was right. Long before some clever couple from Fresno had their stroke of marketing genius, my husband would make our kitchen look like the scene of an axe murder every November. Flinging bright red juice from wall to wall, he squeezes the messy pomegranates and freezes the “tres fashionable” juice.

Why didn’t I think about mixing it with vodka? That certainly would have made the whole cleanup process less painful. Why didn’t I think about mixing it with soap and tea? And who are these people who can think of martinis and bubble bath in the same breath?

I have my pride, but if the trend continues, you just might see me sitting in my little roadside pomegranate booth, trading in red gold. I especially need to cash in on this trend just to supplement our retirement, because if even half the claims about the fairly sour red juice are true, my fruit-squeezing spouse may well live forever.

I’m in the mood for something retro. I believe I’ll have an apple.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who likes her fruit simple. Contact her at


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