Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don't judge a fruit by its skin

When growing your own fruits and vegetables, you need to forget a few things that you've been doing in supermarkets your entire life. One of those things is eschewing any produce that looks imperfect. I totally understand that you don't want to buy anything that looks like it might not be edible. Neither do I. But when something is growing in your yard or garden, you owe it to yourself to cut it open before making the decision to feed it to the chickens, worms, compost bin, or yourself.

Illinois has a pretty short growing season for anyone who wants to grow melons, and many home gardeners don't even try. But it is so rewarding to have your own fresh melons, so every few years, I give it a go. This year is one of those years. The melons were growing like weeds until the bugs attacked. Most of the vines are now dead, and the melons are not pretty, but they are tasty.

Who would have thought that this --

would look like this inside?

Not me! I fed two of my Charantais melons to the pigs before realizing what a mistake I was making! Well, no more! Now I'm cutting open every melon before making the decision about who gets to eat it.

This is really not new to me though. Our apples always look like this --

but on the inside, they're perfect!

And they make delicious apple crisp, apple preserves, caramel apple butter, and . . . you get the idea!

Lots of people assume their homegrown fruit isn't edible because it doesn't look as pretty as the fruit in the store. I know, I used to be one of those people. But the fruit in the store looks so perfect because it has had lots of pesticides sprayed on it to keep the bugs away, and it is often waxed to be shiny and picture perfect. So before you decide that your homegrown fruit isn't edible, cut it open and give it a chance. You could be missing out on bushels of fresh, organic, free fruit!

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for this lesson in home grown. Much appreciated!

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  2. Our apples are exactly the same way! Look bad outside but look and taste great inside! And thye make great pies!

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  3. You make a good point, although I know that homegrown fruit and vegetables sometimes do not look like the ones in the store I would never have guessed that the melon was fit to eat. The apples I would have not hesitated to eat though, even some storebought apples look close to this, at least here in Sweden.

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  4. I live in the south of France and although I'm not in a position to grow my own I buy locally grown produce and we are often the recipients of our neighbours surplus bounties in the summer. The tomatoes are often strange shapes, cracked and ugly but taste like heaven. What is interesting here is that the supermarkets have to stock a big proportion of local produce so we see real-looking fruit and veg on the shelves there too. After 10 years here it's completely normal to us, and we find it very unappetising now strolling around the fresh produce aisles of British supermarkets where everything is uniform size and colour...

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