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.