In Praise of Nature’s Candy

blueberriesNational Blueberry Month is not until July, but I was thinking today about how much “candy” the Lord provided in nature for us to enjoy.  Of all that natural candy, blueberries are at the top of the list for me. 

My brother, sister and I used to pick and eat the wild blueberries from the bushes on the islands of Lake Vermillion in northern Minnesota. We ate them right off the vine, they were so good, washed in the rain and the dew. In January, I passed some in the produce section and got a sudden yearning for those sun-drenched days up in the boundary waters and the taste of those lovely blueberries. I’ve been buying them every week since. Sam’s Club sells much larger containers of them than the tiny, expensive little cartons at the grocery store, so I put them on my cereal, drop them in yogurt and grab a few whenever else I have a yen for them.

I understand blueberries are very healthy in that they contain antioxidants and others things that are beneficial. They are sometimes called “brain food” for the properties they have that are supposed to stave off the aging process. With my months long blueberry festival, my brain should be in good shape for a while!

Raspberries are also unbeatable. My Minnesota grandparents had them growing wild in their fields. I can still feel the sun on my head as a child while we wandered around trying to find the best bush loaded with berries. Grandma had a freezer where she would store some each year. rasberriesAt Christmas once, I remember her serving vanilla ice cream in her pretty blue dishes and then bringing in the raspberries from the summer before to put on top. The sight of those brilliant crimson berries on the snowy white ice cream struck me as exactly right. Raspberries in winter. The perfect touch.

When I think of all the wonderful fruit the Lord created, it boggles the mind. He could have chosen to make two or three kinds. Instead he created an unbelievable cornucopia of sweetness and beauty for us to enjoy. Think about the sheer variety of the Lord’s creation the next time you bite into a crisp apple, eat a strawberry, pick up a section of juicy orange, or bite into a sweet plum. To think that God would leave us this abundance, despite the sin of the human race, is another reason to be thankful for His common grace. I’m about to head to the kitchen to wash some little purple gems for the dinner table. They had red grapes on sale yesterday, and I couldn’t pass them up! 

Thank you, Lord, for the  variety of fruits we enjoy in season and out of season. We take your blessings for granted far too often!

12 thoughts on “In Praise of Nature’s Candy

  1. Christina says:

    Now I am starting to crave some strawberries and pineapple! My daughter 3, eats at least an apple every day for a snack as well as grapes and bananas. When we go to grandma’s house in the summer there are plenty of raspberries and strawberries to have also. Every time she eats a fruit she always asks me how it is made. I always tell her that God is the one that makes all the fruit we eats. She just wants to eat it even more then! Thank you for continuing to remind us of God’s blessings that are in front of us every day.

  2. Glenn says:

    Amen and Amen! Living outside of town in the great Pacific
    Northwest, I have wild blackberries on my property. I also
    put in 7 blueberry bushes in front of the house – shorter
    varieties. That was several years ago and they are now
    producing very well. It is so cool to walk out the front door,
    take a few more steps and then pick a bowl full to use that
    day. They freeze well and I have quite a few in the freezer
    from last summer. I love edible landscaping – just put in a
    lingonberry, have a couple of huckleberry bushes to plant
    along with a Chilean Guava and a pomegranate bush.

    If you are into juicing – try this:
    3 carrots, 1/2 apple, and a big handful of chilled blueberries.

    If you have room, plant those blueberries. A great investment and they are very little work. The treats that
    the Lord created are the best!

  3. Anjelle says:

    Ingrid, you are an amazing writer! Every time i read your blog i feel like i’m right there with you experiencing whatever it is you’re talking about!

    I LOVE berries! We don’t have them in my country! (Cyprus) so we have to get them frozen which isn’t the same as picking them off trees and eating them! We do however have a big orange tree in our back garden and a sweet plumb tree that produces delicious fruit for the summer.

    God is good all the time
    and all the time
    God is good!

    Blessings in Christ
    Anjelle

  4. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Glenn,
    I haven’t heard much about lingonberries outside of Scandinavia. I know that they are made into jam and used in various foods over there—Swedes like to spread that jam on the thin little pancakes they make for dessert and then shake powdered suguar over them. I didn’t realize they grew them in the Northwest, but now I know! I’ll have to get a jar of lingonberry jam and try it out…One thing I didn’t mention was that a cute village near us, Cedarburg, has a Strawberry Festival each year. It’s in late June and I hope I get to go this year.
    http://www.cedarburgfestivals.org/strawberryfestival.html

    People come from miles around.

  5. doreen says:

    We live near the woods, and whilst they don’t grow wild blueberries, we get blackberries instead.

    We use them in various ways in crumbles etc.

    But I think God’s way is best, as they come!

    God bless.

  6. Margaret L. Been says:

    Ah yes! What delights. One can almost taste your description!

    I’ve been having the same hunger–and I remember years of picking wild berries too.

    Those huge strawberries at the market right now are really good. (I don’t know where they are from–maybe CA.)

    I like to mix up a bowl full of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with just enough sugar to preserve them in the frig for the few days it takes for us to eat them.

    By themselves, they berries are “salad”. On top of pound cake, they are DESSERT! Might as well go all the way, and throw in some French vanilla ice cream as well. 🙂

  7. Lisa K says:

    Ingrid, my husband’s family is Finnish and lingonberries are quite Scandinavian. I find the jam a bit too sweet myself but my husband loves it – we’ve never had fresh lingonberries. At Christmas his family always serves rice pudding with raspberries/strawberries. Many Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish customs are similar. I remember hearing Evie Karlsson (the Norwegian singer) saying her family tradition was rice pudding at Christmas.
    This is a timely post. Several months ago my husband decided we were going to eat fresh fruit every day – very healthy. Lately blueberries have been available and I always buy them. We eat strawberries, blueberries and bananas together – you don’t need any extra sugar!
    Since all the ongoing problems my gallbladder surgery (a ventral hernia was just discovered) I’ve avoided candy and cookies. Every time I crave a “treat” I eat fruit. It definitely is nature’s candy!

  8. Carol says:

    Yes, God is good to give us such an abundance of fruits to enjoy! His Grace towards us is to be appreciated! I love raspberries on cheesecake and isn’t it amazing how good strawberries are with dark chocolate!! And the fruit trees are so beautiful in the spring! The plum tree in our front yard is so lovely with it’s pink blossoms! It is so pretty blooming near the yellow daffodils and the purple vinca ground cover.

  9. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Margaret,
    Great idea. I just did that, except I used angel food cake instead of pound cake. Everybody enjoyed the first strawberry shortcake of the season!

  10. Sandi Ortiz says:

    Our family loves berries. We make berry smoothies (with non-fat yogurt!). My littles ones love them! They can’t get enough. Thankfully, berries are now reasonably priced in our market. Sometimes when we can’t buy fresh (since we are on a fixed income), we buy frozen too. It works just as well.
    Blessings!

  11. wearymom says:

    We go strawberry picking in June here and then spend the day putting up freezer jam which we then get to enjoy all through the winter months. I love to give some of it away as gifts at Christmas time. We also pick blueberries in July and most of those go into the freezer…some into bags so I can make blueberry cobbler, also some sprinkle to on my cereal (taste good even frozen!)….the rest goes into blueberry jam. Then comes the fall with our wonderful New York State apples..so many varities. I make applesause and can most of it to eat all winter. I love Macs, MacGowan, Jona Gold, Ida Reds, Empire….to name a few. God sure did give us to many different kinds of everything to enjoy. We could have a discussion next about all the different flowers we get to enjoy. With the nice weather coming, it is just a joy to plant things and watch them grow. How good God is to us!

  12. David Alves says:

    Ingrid,

    Based on Randy Alcorn’s excellent book Heaven, I think that you’ll be at Lake Vermillion, tasting even better berries, with Jesus, on the New Earth. 🙂

    I read Slice several times a week and just found out about the baby today–congratulations are in order.

    I’m on Facebook; friend me if you’d like. (The link above will take you to my profile.)

    God bless you.

    David Alves

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

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