Yesterday, Eric’s mom called to say that she’d bought peaches from Costco, they were divine, and what would it take to get us to make ice cream out of them? She rates our peach ice cream as the second-best she’s ever had, and the first best was imbued with childhood nostalgia (she was eight, it was her uncle’s recipe in a hand-cranked machine on a perfect summer day, etc.), so ours is the best she can realistically get. After a prolonged discussion of what materials we needed, we decided to visit (they live around the corner) and talk it over in person.

Taste this,” Brenda said, handing us each a slice of peach as we came in. They were, indeed, very good: sweet and juicy, yielding but not mealy. They had also bought cherries and blueberries and had strawberries in the fridge, and a bowl of sliced cantaloupe stood there on the table. We nibbled everything and discussed ice creams. (Cherry is next on the list after the peach and the well-loved strawberry.)

“It might be a good idea to buy a lot of fruit now and freeze it,” Edith said.

I objected. “We tried using frozen peaches once and it didn’t turn out well.”

“If you bought frozen peaches, I’m not surprised,” Brenda said.

“I’ve never frozen my own fruit, so I can’t compare,” I said.

“Well, the main thing is that the chunks of fruit wouldn’t be the same as fresh. But if you processed it first–”

“We’ve been macerating and then pureeing the fruit, so that would probably work,” Eric said. “And it wouldn’t take up as much space as full ice cream.”

“I’d certainly be willing to give it a try,” I said. “It would be nice to be able to make summer-fresh ice cream in February.”

“Absolutely,” Brenda said. “And you won’t be able to get fruit like this for long. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like it comes all at once for a short time, and then you can’t get it anymore–”

Eric’s glance met mine. “Well, yes,” he started to say, but she was talking about cherry ice cream and then we discussed Thin Mint (also on the list), and the moment passed. We had other things to discuss on the way home (like Eric’s promising job interview) so we didn’t bring it up, but I wonder. I’ve always known that fall is apple season, winter is orange season, and summer is cherry/peach/berry season. Surely she does too. Fruit more than anything else is still seasonal, even in our welcome-to-the-global-market grocery stores. Has she noticed that I only talk about pomegranates in late fall because that’s the only time they’re available?

I know I’ve been tuned into the locavore/gardening philosophy and she isn’t, but I worry a little. And I feel a little sorry for her, too. She was amazed at the flavor of those peaches partly because she buys them year-round, and three-quarters of the time they’re not very good. Eric and I are becoming used to the idea of not buying things that aren’t in season, of waiting for food that will be at its best. (Not completely. But we’re working at it.) Our kids are going to learn about growing seasons and about eating a ripe, glowing piece of fruit after ten months of not having it. And the peach ice cream we will eventually make with the peaches from our own tree will be the best we’ve ever had.

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