The Fruits of Summer
This is the time of year when sunshine is bursting in the flesh of sweet sweet fruit. Sunlight muscles out the darkness of night, and we have more time for all the things on our never-ending to-do list. One thing I always find is that more light hours of the day do not necessarily yield more tasks done, as the sweltering heat commands a level of respect and relaxation in the middle of the day. Time is at once accelerated and stagnant in the rippling heat waves of our longest days.
It’s these pockets of time that teach me to slow down and make time for what I want. When I take the time to be still and observe, I notice buzzing bees, busy ants, playful birds, and the fragrant bellow of fruit ripening into bright, drippy color. I can even detect the smallest rhythmic dance of leaves stirred by a hot dry breeze.
This stillness of nature is there every moment of every day when we’re all bustling about our days and counting through the tasks to complete. I invite you this season to slow down and enjoy the fruit of summer. Savor each as its seasonality comes and goes, but don’t hold on too tightly: be ready to let go of one and welcome the next with equal admiration and excitement. As the summer fruit transitions from strawberries to blueberries, raspberries to cherries, blackberries to apricots, peaches to plums and pluots, nectarines to grapes, and melons to figs, appreciate each atop a creamy canvas of muesli.
Muesli (pronounced muse-ly) is a soaked mixture of oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and spices. Developed by a Swiss physician for his patients, muesli is a breakfast reminiscent of hot oatmeal though built for hot summers. Instead of cooking the oats, you leave them to soak in milk overnight in the fridge, where flavors meld and the oats soften into a cool porridge-like consistency. I like to use local almond milk with a blend of rolled oats and kamut flakes, which give this whole grain breakfast diversity in flavor, texture, and available nutrients.
This recipe is my personal go-to for quick summer breakfasts out in the garden. During the busy months of summer, I’d much rather spend my time outside than planning, prepping, and executing meals. I like to keep this kamut variation of muesli soaked in the fridge, where I can fill up a mason jar, top it with whatever fruit I can get my hands on, and spend my time enjoying it in the cool business of the garden.
Blueberries are currently available at select U-Pick farms and markets across the North State, but they won’t last forever. For now, I plan to pick all the blueberries I possibly can, stash a lot in my freezer, and melt some down with ginger and the last crop of local citrus. Once the blueberries are gone, I welcome with open arms all the other summer fruits to pass from their plant umbilical cord, to my hands, and into my morning muesli.
Yield 7 cups.
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups rolled kamut
1.5 cups pecans
1.5 cups coconut flakes
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon cardamom
¼ cup roasted cacao nibs (I prefer local Pipe Vine chocolate, available at Zucchini and Vine in Chico.)
Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the oats, kamut flakes, coconut and pecans onto two sheet pans. Bake until the coconut become golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes, and cool completely. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted oats, coconut, and pecans with the salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and cacao nibs. Mix to combine and store in a mason jar in your pantry.
MELTED BLUEBERRIES AND KAMUT MUESLI
4 cups Muesli mix
4-5 cups Beber Pure Almond Milk,
Stir almond milk into muesli mix, cover the bowl, and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, give your muesli a stir (if the mix soaked up all the almond milk and is dry, add more almond milk here until it has a porridge consistency). Serve with a top or bottom layer of melted blueberries (below) and perhaps some sliced banana and powdered sesame seeds for an especially delicious start to your summer day!
1 teaspoon Ghee,
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger,
3 cups blueberries,
1 tablespoon honey,
½ orange, zest and juice
Pinch of salt
Melt the ghee and sauté the ginger over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add blueberries, honey, orange juice and zest, and salt. Continue cooking over medium heat until the berries soften and lend their sweet juices, for a thin syrup, about 3-4 minutes. Any leftovers store well in a mason jar in the fridge for about a week.