The delightful sensation of a ripe piece of fruit hitting the taste buds and creating an overall satisfaction in mouth feel, smell, and taste is quite the treat! And for all that pleasure to come in a completely unprepared, unprocessed package I can think of no better hunger quencher. The most beautiful parts of a fruit can vary quite dramatically. The fruit that tempted Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden was quite attractive in appearance, a red lush, shiny apple. What if she had seen a kiwi with its hairy brown outside? I do not think Eve would have been as tempted to sink her teeth into a kiwi. However, anyone who has cut into a kiwi would know that its flesh is quite as lovely and juicy as an apple.
Fruit may be the teaching us a time old moral of not “judging a book by its cover,” or fruit by its skin. But there is something to the skin of the fruit that does visually communicate the nutrient density and ripeness of the succulent ovary.
“On a per-pound basis, smaller fruits contain more nutrients and flavor than larger ones. This is because in most fruits (and vegetables) the nutrient and flavor components are concentrated in the skin or just under it; the smaller the fruit, the more surface there is in relation to total mass.” Rebecca Wood, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia
In addition to showing nutrient density or beauty below the surface, the feel and color of the skin also guides us as to when is the best time to harvest.
“The starches in some fruits, such as avocados and bananas, the so-called climacteric fruits, become sweeter after harvest. This is not the case with nonclimacteric fruits; if they are picked while immature, they’ll remain immature. A peach, for example, that’s harvested while still firms lacks flavor, aroma, nutrients, sweetness, and pleasure.” Rebecca Wood, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia
Below is a list of nonclimacteric fruits that need to be bought when ripe, as they do not become sweeter after harvest:
Apple, Apricot, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cantaloupe, Cherry, Fig, Grape, Nectarine, Peach, Pineapple, Plum, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Strawberry, Watermelon.
The following climacteric fruit can be purchased firm and will become sweeter after harvest:
Asian pear, Avocado, Banana, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime Mango, Pear, Persimmon, Tomato.
The succulent fruits listed above have given animals of all kinds a clear seasonal, visual, dialog that will only enhance the enjoyment of the beauty that lies skin deep.
Note: the skin should not be taken off in most cases to experience the full spectrum of nutrients and fiber that the fruit has to offer.