Against Jumbo Blueberries

Your fruit scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.

Blueberry isolated. Blueberry on white background. Bilberry. Clipping path.

I do not have a problem with all large versions of typically small things. I’d love a very large s’more, for instance. I found it as comical as anyone when Ina Garten made that giant cosmopolitan. If my dog became horse-sized, I would love him just the same. However, there is one giant version of a small thing that I just cannot abide, and no, I’m not talking about modern day Kumail Nanjiani, although, yes, him too. I’m talking about: jumbo blueberries.

Jumbo blueberries have fooled me only once. As you know, that means shame on them. I took a carton of jumbo blueberries home from the grocery store two summers ago under the impression that they were normal-sized blueberries. They were in a large stack in the fruit section of Whole Foods. I realized my mistake only once I got them home and attempted to add the hideous, massive things to my yogurt. Frankly, I was shocked. What … the fuck, you can imagine me thinking. Gruesomely large, mealy, bereft of tartness. A horrific fruit experiment gone wrong. The Fly, except a blueberry walked into the teleportation machine with Violet Beauregarde as a blueberry.

Yes, in retrospect, there was likely a sign near the jumbo blueberries that said “JUMBO BLUEBERRIES,” and yes, they are visibly larger than normal blueberries, and yes, it also probably said “jumbo blueberries” on the carton; I accept that the purchase was my mistake. But at the time I did not know “jumbo blueberries” was a fruit that existed. I think you would agree that it would be abnormal for me to check food items before purchasing them, just to make sure the size was standard. “I better make sure these aren’t particularly gigantic tortilla chips.” “Before I buy this cereal, I ought to make sure the pieces will fit into a bowl.” “Whew, looks like this spinach is normal, rather than just one large, hideous leaf.”

Blueberries, it’s worth mentioning, are an exceptionally bad food item to make gigantic. If it were a bag of particularly gigantic onions, for instance, the onion material would be usable in the same way any onion’s material would. You might waste some of the leftover onion if you don’t have proper onion storage, but the onion experience would remain the same. The experience of a blueberry, however, decreases in enjoyment relative to the increase of innards. Too much squishy innards and the taste is bland; your mouth becomes too full of squish. Even a giant grape would be better, given the grape innards’ texture contains a bit of bite. But a blueberry is essentially just a ball of mush. And nobody wants a particularly big ball of mush covered by a thin layer of skin.

Or do they?

I feel the need to admit that I had a very long conversation with a man involved in Driscoll’s blueberry R&D program in an attempt to figure out “why” these monstrous abominations exist. The answer was cross-pollination and consumer demand. Apparently people like the jumbo blueberries. I suppose I didn’t need to waste his time to figure that out, and frankly I don’t know what I was expecting him to say otherwise. Because of his kindness and his passion for providing blueberry-related delight to his incorrect customers I will leave him out of this, but to be clear I believe his product is a crime against God for which he will one day be eternally punished.

I guess I’m happy for you if you enjoy a jumbo blueberry. We all have to take delight where we can, and at least my momentary pain and waste of $7 two summers ago was not for naught. But I do hope you know that you are wrong. You are obscene and wrong and you have a mouth full of disgusting, ghoulish mush. Enjoy it, I guess. Enjoy your horrific filth. Your vile smush. I at least know enough now to look out for the fruitsellers’ traps, to guard my wallet and my mouth, and to purchase for myself — regular blueberries.