Tag Archives: apple symbolism

Sugarplums Dancing in my Bowl

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, / While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads

“A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by either Henry Livingston Jr. or Clement Moore

 

The children in this poem dreamed of sugarplums. What are sugarplums? I was amazed to learn in May that they were growing in my front yard.

In June 2016, I watched each morning as a robin picked all the little fruit from my serviceberry tree. During this past May, I read about these edible, nutritious delicacies. They have many names, including June, Saskatoon, prairie, shadbush, and pigeon berries, along with wild plum and chuckley pear.

And sugarplum.

This summer birds squawked nearby each morning as I picked the berries while red, because the fruit would not last long enough on the shrub to turn a darker shade.

They are shaped like small blueberries yet are more related to the apple family. Their mildly sweet, almondish flavor contribute plenty of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and nutrients to my breakfast.

They go great with diluted coconut butter, chia seeds, and soaked/dehydrated raw pecans. Maybe this coming Christmas, long after these berries are consumed, I’ll be dreaming of sugarplums dancing in my breakfast bowl.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

More than 50,000 plants species—and possibly more than 80,000–on our planet are edible. Only about 3,000 of these species are regularly used as food. 103 species make up 90 percent of our plant food supply.

That’s paltry.

By expanding the types of foods we eat, we can expand the nutrients available to us. Perhaps check out #WholeFoods, #JungleJim’s, and some farmers’ markets this summer to discover some new tastes and textures.

Sources:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/26719/mystery-behind-worlds-most-famous-christmas-poem

Nutritional resource: http://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/saskatoons/

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=101333

https://www.quora.com/How-many-different-plants-do-humans-eat

Gilded Apples for Easter: Rebirth and Redemption

“Bright Iduna, Maid immortal! / Standing at Valhalla’s portal, / In her casket has rich store / Of rare apples, gilded o’er; / Those rare apples, not of Earth, / Ageing Æsir give fresh birth.”

Valhalla, by Julia Clinton Jones, 1878

The golden apples of the goddess Iduna gave youth and beauty to the other Norse gods and goddesses. Their magical properties entranced the storm giant Thiassi, who found a way to kidnap Iduna and her fruit. After Iduna was rescued, Thiassi, in the form of an eagle, was burned. His eyes were thrown into the heavens to become constellations, continuing his life like a phoenix rising from flames.

Madonna and Christ Child holding apple
Madonna and Christ Child holding an apple

Many ancient cultures valued fruit, some enough to bury apples with the deceased. The petrified remains of sliced apples have been found in tombs as much as 7,000 years old.

Apples became a symbol of youth and rebirth, perhaps in part because they keep so well through the winter.

In Christian lore, the apple represents redemption and sometimes is depicted in paintings of the Madonna and Christ Child, such as in “Madonna of the Apple” by 17th century artist Francisco de Zurbarán.

What could be more fitting than planting apple trees on Resurrection Sunday in memory of my son Tristan? One of the two trees is a type called “Gold Rush,” reminding me of Iduna’s gilded fruit that imparts new life. The trees are perfect gifts from my brother Jim and his wife Janet.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

A basket of golden apples and a note about their significance would make a lovely gift to someone who has lost a loved one.

Sources:

Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland; A Saga, in Twelve Parts, by Julia Clinton Jones, 1878, retrieved March 29, 2016 from http://www.odins-gift.com/pclass/valhalla_jones/valhalla_jones_4.htm

http://levigilant.com/Bulfinch_Mythology/bulfinch.englishatheist.org/b/guerber/Chapter7.htm

http://ireland-calling.com/celtic-mythology-apple-tree/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_(symbolism)

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