Like little stars.
It’s officially summer when car windows eagerly start to drop, a sign of our once-again, long-awaited liberation from long sleeves: Elbows inch out over the window rim and say, “Bring on driver’s tan!” It’s officially summer when strawberries come home in tiny wooden crates. How will you know they’re ripe? Red juice will stain the crates and drip down to your elbows; you’ll drink as much as you eat, barely biting the tender fruit all the way to their flowered green tails.
Another sign of summer: renewed ambition. Long past winter soups and scraping for roots, now on the breach of four months of agricultural menagerie, we are again excited to play with our food. I get happy; I get giddy; I may even subject my loved ones to a verse of “Wild Horses” as I get high off basil leaf. As blueberries plump up bigger than I can remember, after snubbing lame grocery store buds all year, I start thinking: Oozy, blue-bled pancakes. And when mint starts piquing my senses, I want something with ice. Which brings me to this bunch of lemons that have been sitting in my fridge. When life gives you a bunch of neglected lemons, and it’s officially summer, buy fresh mint and make granita.
Somewhere between an ice-pop and a slushy, this elegantly light shaved ice employs your abundance of seasonal fruit, serving as a relief well into the days when that enthused driver’s tan meets hazy, in-your-face humidity and you begin to regret the summer. The Italians have served this warm-weather antidote for centuries, varying from a cappuccino substitute for hot mornings (yes, frozen coffee with thick whipped cream), to a liquored up, late-night cool-down. But like most Italians, I’ve simply decided to use it as a way to use up my crop.
Honey lemon granita
Like little stars.
World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.
So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).
My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.
High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.
Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.
New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.
Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.
Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.
Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.
Really does taste like pineapple.