Monday, November 8, 2010
The Arbouses are ripe
What is this you ask? Apparently an arbutus berry. Ever heard of it? Probably not unless you've gone hiking in Provence in November. It is dark red when ripe -- on the outside, pale yellow on the inside, soft, with a granular exterior. It makes rather a nice compote that is delicious with yogurt. Tangy, a touch acidic. It has lots of vitamine C.
During my hike with V the other day by the Gardon River in Collias we gorged ourselves on them as a reward to our exertions.
And yesterday, out hiking with five boys in tow and my dear friend P with her beau, the pleasant cellist, we found many many trees with just a few berries still in them. Many had been knocked to the ground by the rain and wind storms of the past few days. But there were enough to tantalize all our palates and delight the hungry beasts in us all.
The Arbousier grows as a large bush. Multiple slender branches reach towards the sky, and thus the fruit can be at eye level, or up above depending. Climbing into the tree isn't recommended -- it doesn't seem to have thickness and sturdiness as a defining characteristic -- but it is relatively easy to bend a densely loaded branch down to eager fingers.