Fruit collects a dozen of the South’s bountiful locally sourced fruits in a cook’s basket of fifty-four luscious dishes, savory and sweet. Demand for these edible jewels is growing among those keen to feast on the South’s natural pleasures, whether gathered in the wild or cultivated with care. Indigenous fruits here include blackberries, mayhaws, muscadine and scuppernong grapes, pawpaws, persimmons, and strawberries. From old-school Grape Hull Pie to Mayhaw Jelly–Glazed Shrimp, McDermott’s recipes for these less common fruits are of remarkable interest–and incredibly tasty. The non-native fruits in the volume were eagerly adopted long ago by southern cooks, and they include damson plums, figs, peaches, cantaloupes, quince, and watermelons. McDermott gives them a delicious twist in recipes such as Fresh Fig Pie and Thai-Inspired Watermelon-Pineapple Salad.
McDermott also illuminates how the South–from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Lowcountry, from the Mississippi Delta to the Gulf Coast–encompasses diverse subregional culinary traditions when it comes to fruit. Her recipes, including a favorite piecrust, provide a treasury of ways to relish southern fruits at their ephemeral peak and to preserve them for enjoyment throughout the year.