Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The Legend and the Truth of Bumbleberries
As I brambled my my way through the years I eventually came upon a berry myth that intrigued me. While driving a back road I came to a sign that beckoned with a berry loaded sign that read, Bumbleberry Inn. Bumbleberry? Was this a berry I had overlooked? Crossing the threshold of the ivy covered tavern I met the inn-keepeer. He wove a story about how the bumbleberry can be gathered only during the dark of the moon and would not share the true identity of the mysterious berry in his bumbleberry pies.
Time went on and years passed by with the bumbleberry mystery always residing someplace in the back of my mind when one day I was looking through some very old cookbooks in my Grandmother's attic when I found something most interesting! Recipes for bumbleberry desserts. As I looked through many old books I found that the bumbleberry recipes were always a combinations of berries baked into a dessert with rhubarb.
So, a bumbleberry creation was a mixture of berries and rhubarb, but why did they name it bumbleberry? Where did the bumble come in? Why was it like bumblebee and not honeyberry, like honeybee? I kept researching and inquiring, but it seemed nobody knew the answer to my bumbleberry queries.
It was in the most natural way that the answer came. My husband and I were selling our produce and flowers at the farm market when a bumblebee decided to visit us. We watched as the bee wandered from flower to flower. My husband, beekeeper, remarked that the honeybee is focused in her search for nectar and will return to the same source until she has expired it. Not so the bumblebee.
The bumblebee will saunter about, bumbling into and visiting with this flower and that flower. As my husband shared this bit of information with me a light bulb went off in my head. Of course! A recipe using a blend of fruit was named bumbleberry because of the bumblebee’s habit of mixing flowers. A bumblebee visits a variety of flowers so a bumbleberry recipe contains a mixture of fruits.