Want Some Protein With That?

You think back to the fresh mulberry pie you had last year. You go to your friend’s house and pick mulberries. You wash them inside with your friend who informs you that after soaking, refrigeration drives the maggots out of the berries. You look closely at the berries and watch in vivid horror and fascination the writhing of fruit fly larvae. You cannot unsee this. You put the mulberries in the freezer because Google tells you that this kills the maggots. You pull them out of the freezer and stare at them because you realize that though the maggots are dead, their carcasses remain.

Do you eat the berries? Do you make your pie and jam?

Kathie’s garden: where it began. If you think it looks massive and amazing and like a vacation destination, that’s because it is. In this picture it looks like ancient China to me. Not that I know what ancient China looked like, but that shouldn’t stop me from making similes. Because I’m probably not going to make the jam.

The mulberries have been out of the freezer and in the fridge now for a couple of days. I know we eat two pounds of bugs a year without knowing it. A friend argues that I eat escargot, it is sort of like a really big maggot, but I counter that when I eat escargot,  I am eating it on purpose (and anyway, I haven’t had it since the Great Snail Jihad of 2006, where I battled an infestation in my back yard).

I begin to rethink this whole organic thing. I text Kathie.

ME: Still scared of the mulberries. Want them back? And in other news, a mulberry plant started growing in my yard. It’s mocking me.

KATHIE: If you haven’t eaten them by now, toss them. The maggots are disturbing. Better to sleep well at night.

ME: OK. Read online that we should go for the fruit that’s less ripe. Was reading online that the larvae secrete ripening agents that ripen the fruit. Ewwwww.

KATHIE: Good to know for next year. Just remember, you ate the larvae last year from your friend’s tree. You just didn’t know it until I pointed it out.

I flashback to an image of her trying to pick a maggot off of a berry, but it’s only halfway out. “The rest is stuck inside,” she says.

Ew. Would you use these berries?


  • June 18, 2012 - 3:04 PM | Permalink

    ew. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. Ok, so why is it that they do this in mulberries and not blackberries (thank GOSH. Because we eat those like crazy from my father-in-law’s abundant bushes)? Is it the silkworm thing? Is it because they’re a tree and not a bush and so are just totally different? This made me examine each and every blackberry at my fil’s and he laughed and said, “You’re scared of them and there’s nothing in them.” And there wasn’t…PHEW. This post haunts me though. Haunts. Tell me more. No, don’t. Yes, do tell me more.

  • June 18, 2012 - 3:05 PM | Permalink

    p.s. I love figs and I hear there are are lots of bugs in those. But I pretend they’re not in the ones I eat of course.

    • June 18, 2012 - 5:41 PM | Permalink

      Just don’t look. That’s the problem. I know we eat tons of bugs anyway and whenever you buy jam it’s probably full of protein, but I would NOT recommend staring any of them down for a few hours before thinking about consuming them. Figs are SO GOOD. I guess bugs have good taste.

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