The Art of Fruit Ripening
In the first lesson we will look at what is the optimal diet for people and why the term a raw diet can be misleading.
Often when people are first introduced to the term a raw diet, they assume that it means to just eat typically cooked food, without cooking it. Immediately they begin to ask:
How do I eat raw cereals / legumes / potatoes, etc?
To resolve this confusion, I am inviting you on an imaginary walk through nature.
Before our walk, let’s acknowledge a couple of things:
- each species is attracted to its natural food in its raw, unprocessed form
- each species is equipped with its anatomy to obtain and digest its natural food in an efficient and relatively easy way
With this foundation of understanding, we may embark on our imaginary walk.
We come across:
- A rabbit – does the sight of a rabbit make you salivate and do you get a desire to tear it apart? Or rather, are you attracted to pet the rabbit?
A wolf would have a different answer to yours, but since you do not belong to a pack of wolves, you do not have the same appetite or nutritional needs. Wolves and similar predators are far different from humans in their anatomical and physiological characteristics that dictate their optimal food.
The features of natural carnivores are:
See in the dark for the sake of efficient hunting,
Don’t see colors, unlike the fruit-eating species,
Have claws and canines for easy prey killing,
Drink blood before they eat their victim,
Have short bowels so that high-fat and high-protein fiberless foods could pass quickly,
Have the ability to synthesize vitamin C because they evolved on a diet that lacks this vitamin.
I hope that we have established significant differences between the biological nature of humans and carnivores, so we can check out our next potential food.
- A field of grains – Are you attracted to collecting grains and eating them? What would happen if you tried that? Sticky gluten or similar sticky proteins in grains would just form something like a chewing gum in your mouth, which you would spit out.
However, birds would have a different experience because birds also have a different anatomical structure of the digestive system. Unlike humans, birds have an organ before the stomach, called gizzard that allows digestion of raw grains. Humans are not equipped with this organ and cannot digest grains without processing them. Just having to process something to make it edible, indicates that it is not our natural food.
The features of grains are:
- Do not have vitamin C,
- Are not the fruits of the plants, but the seeds of the plants,
- Contain antinutrients with which plants naturally defend their seeds,
- They are full of hard-to-digest starch and sticky proteins such as gluten and avenins.
So if we have passed the grains as well, we go further in our walk and reach the next point.
- A grass lawn – if it is neat and tidy, it will most likely attract you to stretch yourself on it and watch the clouds. 🙂
But it is very unlikely that you will get the urge to eat the grass, and your anatomy wouldn’t help you in that regard either.
Notice how horses, cows, sheep, and similar ruminants all have long necks that allow them to lower their mouths down to the grass. In addition, they have four stomachs that allow them to digest cellulose foods. You will agree, people have completely different anatomies, and it is natural that we do not see grass as food.
Granted, grass has been put down as an inedible option, so we go on and get to…
- A field of root vegetables – unless you already knew this was a field of root vegetables, it would be hard for you to find this out, since all those roots are not visible above the surface of the Earth. And even if you knew, you would hardly be attracted to dig those roots out and eat them.
Unlike you, a pig for an instance, would cherish this game of digging roots. But even if you dug out a root, what do you think? Would it really attract you to eat it, covered with earth and without attractive shape and color?
You can find far better…
And so we passed the roots and we finally reach…
- A fruit tree – imagine a tree of your favorite fruit. Imagine standing in front of this tree, looking at its treetop. Fresh and ripe fruits are visible among the green leaves and you can almost taste the sweet juicy flavors.
You are probably aware that children feel real excitement at the view of a fruit tree, or better yet, the opportunity to climb a tree and enjoy its sweet fruits.
The evidence that you are a fruit eater is:
- Your anatomy gives you the perfect opportunity to climb a tree relatively easily,
- The dexterity of your hands is ideal for picking fruits,
- The dental formula of your teeth is perfectly suited to bite on fruits,
- Your long and curvy intestines allow easy passing of only foods rich in water and fiber,
- All of your cells prefer simple sugars as fuel,
- High water content in fruit hydrates your body cells,
- Fruit provides enjoyment when eaten as it is a nutritional support to your body without harmful ingredients and metabolic end products.
And so we have come to the very food that attracts us in its natural form, gives us pleasure and the necessary nutrients. In addition to fruits, we can also be attracted to young, tender greens, as well as nuts and seeds.
As for the nuts and seeds, we can notice that they are found in shells that are not so easy to open. As many nuts and seeds we would get with the time and effort we would be willing to devote to opening them with bare hands, is an appropriate amount to eat. In the presence of our preferred food – fruit – which requires minimal effort and time to eat, nuts and seeds would play a small role in our diet.
I hope this lesson has taken you a step further in understanding what is the optimal diet for people.
- It sure does! Yet still… what about the saying One should eat the food of the area where one lives?
Let’s address this topic in the next lesson.
Fruit is a reproductive organ of a tree that is defined as flesh around the seed. The flesh protects the seed and ripens together with it. When the seed is ripe enough to turn into a young plant, the flesh around it is ripe enough to be used, which is evident in the fact that the flesh is at that point: fragrant, bright in color, slightly soft to touch and sweet. This attracts fruit-eaters to the fruit, through which the seed is released and returned to the ground.
Before the seed is ripe enough to turn into a young plant, the flesh around it does not give off a tempting aroma, has a pale color, is hard to touch and starchy instead of sweet. Obviously, this is not the stage when the fruit is ready to be used. However, there is also a stage when the fruit is too soft, the color is too dark, and the smell is too strong and has an alcoholic taste.
Between these two stages is the stage when the fruit is perfectly ready for consumption. It is a true art to learn when a fruit is truly ripe, how to ripen unripe fruit, and how to preserve ripe fruit until use.
- Knowing when fruit is truly ripe
The Cavendish banana variety, the most common banana variety on the market, is ripe when its yellow skin is spotted.
Stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, apricots…) are ripe when they are slightly soft to touch and give off a pleasant aroma.
Apples, pears and similar fruit varieties are ripe when they give away a characteristic smell, and for some varieties it is also considered that a slightly browned peel is a sign of ripeness.
Watermelon is ripe when it gives away a shallow sound when hit gently on its surface.
Tropical fruit with peel is generally ripe when the peel is slightly soft and darkened, and the fruit gives off a characteristic smell.
- Ripening climacteric fruits
The list of climacteric fruit varieties from lesson 25 provides you with a list of fruit varieties that you can freely buy unripe and then ripen at home. The advantage of this feature is that you can buy fruit in advance and manipulate the ripening of the fruit in order to use them at a certain time with the following methods:
- Different level shelves – take advantage of warmer air higher up in a room; the fruits higher up on shelves will ripen faster, and on the lower shelves will ripen more slowly.
A practical example – place the ripe fruit at the lower levels and the unripe at the higher levels. First use the fruits from the lower levels, while the fruits from the higher levels are to be used later. As you begin to lower already ripe fruits from the higher to the lower shelves that have been already emptied, you place the new unripe fruit on the shelves at higher levels.
- Cooler storage rooms are a great way to preserve the freshness of the fruit, slow down ripening as needed and cool the fruit if desired.
A practical example – watermelons and melons can be conveniently stored in a cool storage room since due to their sizes it is easier to store them in a room instead of on a shelf, while maintaining their freshness and coolness.
- Fridge – although fruits are generally stored at room temperature, the absence of heat is a great method for preserving already ripe fruits that you do not want to use yet. The lower temperature slows down the respiration of the fruit and the formation of ethylene, and thus its ripening.
Be careful to take out the fruit from the fridge well in advance before using it if you know that eating cold food will only leave you feeling uncomfortably cold in your body. This note applies to colder weather, while in warmer days chilled fruit may feel better.
Experiment with cooling different fruits and notice how cooling can degrade the taste in some fruits and improve it in others. Of course, individual taste plays a role in this.
- Sunny windows / balconies – Exposing fruit to the sun contributes to its ripening.
- A cardboard box or bag – climacteric fruit varieties continue to ripen after being picked thanks to the formation of the ethylene gas. Trapping ethylene accelerates the ripening of the fruit.
A practical example – the bananas you planned for the next day are not ripe yet. Put them in a cardboard box or bag, preferably with some ripe fruit, and the next day you will have ripe, or at least riper, bananas.
- Freezer – not a good option for fruit ripening. You might hear that you can ripen persimmons by placing them in the freezer to freeze and then let them thaw. However, this method does NOT ripen this fruit. It just causes its cell walls to crack open and degrades their taste significantly.
These described methods are a good start for developing your artistic ability to ripen fruit, because it is really a delicate art that is practiced and mastered through experience.