Monday, August 17, 2009

The Most Underrated Fruit

It's not the prettiest, it's not the most "passionate", it's doesn't have the most anti-oxidants, but it is the most underrated. By the power vested in me, I declare The Pear, to be #1 on Roller's List of the 100 Most Underrated Fruits.

I suggest you all go out and buy a few pears and see what you've been missing.

A word on timing: Pears that are still pretty hard to the touch can be purchased, but keep them in a bag for a day or too. When a pear feels slightly soft, they are perfect for consumption. Too soft, and they are just that - too soft and mushy.

If anyone would like to offer their own most underrated fruit list, or dispute my claim, please add your comments below, and I'll tell you why you're wrong.


Ryan said...

Brilliant. I'll have to try them, because I think you're on to something.

The pear has always struck me as the dork of fruit. Maybe we're the dorks.

My fruit habits are pretty normal, although I have become a bigger fan of berries, especially blueberries. Just eat a handful, nice snack, and ripe fresh blueberries are very very good, little tart, little sweet.

Also, I always get lost in the fruit/vegetable debate, but Vanessa has made me a big believer in avacado.

Still think honeydew melon is the most overrated fruit, by its name vs. its taste. Never had a good one, ever, and it's in every fruit salad. It's the celery of fruit.

Joel said...

I find that pears are also good in salads.

I'm a big fan of the Apricot. Dried, fresh -- what have you.

I know it sounds old-man-ish, but are any of you folks gardening? We just bought a new house and I'm very jazzed to have a small yard to grow stuff. (rare in SF)

More on fruit: Out here in Cali, lots of people like figs. There are apparently different kinds. I never remember seeing figs growing up in the Lou. Fig newtons, for sure, but fresh figs, no way. I can't say I really like them, but I'm wondering if it's a regional thing or a national thing. Figs??

Coovo said...

Figs? I thought California had a different kind of fruit . . . You guys are dirty. I meant grapes, which turn into not only wine but my 14th all-time underrated rock group, the California raisins.

What about the Kiwi? Where does that rank on your list Roller? Maybe not as versatile as the pear but it tends to hide out and really pack a punch for of flavor.

Ryan, You finally write things I can praise you for. Good point about the fruit vegetable debate. I believe for tax purposes the tomato is considered a vegetable, but is technically a fruit. Great point about the honeydew melon. I'm normally against genocide, but wouldn't mind ridding the earth of the honeydew species.

Roller said...

At some point when I was a kid, I decided I didn't like pears. I probably hadn't had one for 20 years when Nicole turned me on to them last year.

Berries are great... as are avocados - I'm a huge fan too. You can't spell guacamole without avocado!

When in season, peaches, nectarines and tangerines are awesome.

If you ever have the chance to try Passion Fruit, have as much as you can. It is one of the most flavorful foods I've ever had.

Overrated? Mangos. I like the taste and all, but they're expensive and require too much work to eat. Great call on the honeydew, Rye, totally agree!

I should get a prize for pulling Joel out of the woodwork! Great to see you back in these parts, Joel.

I've been saying for a couple years that I want to get a garden started, but I just haven't had time for it. Perhaps better to say, I haven't made time for it. I definitely see it in my future, though. I'd love to grow my own tomatoes, basil and jalepenos. Great hobby. Anything in particular you're wanting to grow, Joel?

I can't say that I've ever heard of people growing figs around here. That does make me want a Strawberry Fig Newton though. Just kidding, a real Fig Newton.

And regarding veggies... I don't think celery is all that bad, but like most veggies I prefer it uncooked. Not a big fan of artichokes, brussellsprouts, zucchini, but I'll eat them. About the only food that I do not like to eat are mushrooms. Everyone loves mushrooms except me.

Roller said...

Funny, Coov. And good call on kiwi.

And how is it that it's only been in the last 4 years or so that limes became the rockstar of fruit? It's like before 2004 the only people who knew about them were British sailors.

Limes or lemons everyone?

Joel said...

I recently added you guys to my Google Reader list. (nice past plug post for that Rolo, I've been a long time fan myself.)

I'm currently growing some basil and lettuce and peas on the roof of our apartment in some large pots. (also some carrots, but I'm dubious of their outcome)

I was hoping to try some tomatoes and maybe some peppers once we get the actual yard space.

Did limes come back with the rise of the mojito? (don't care for the mojito myself, but was really trendy recently)... Don't you take a lime and a coconut and drink it right up?

Ryan said...

I think figs mostly come from the middle east. Limes! Are you kididng? They're the best. Vanessa usually has 3-10 limes in the fridge at any point in time. Yes, I think Mojitos are excellent, and she really likes gin and tonics, so we use limes for drinks maybe daily. For food, there is not much we eat that doesn't have avacado, lime and cilantro in it.

I never knew htat lime would make almost any meat taste so awesome.

Personal farming is the wave of the future, at least my future. My roommate is growing corn, peas and carrots by teh garage, though we doubt much good will come of it. Vanessa is growing parsley, cilantro, thyme, and rosemary on her balcony, and we cook with them often.

There is a growing trend at least around the Twin Cities, where young couples by a fairly large chunk of land in the first ring of exurbia, maybe 2 acres. They have normal jobs, but in the spring and summer they crop out maybe 1.5 acres, certify it organic and then sell it either in the city farmers markets or most major grocery stores now have "local organic" shelves.

They can't support themselves on this income, but it's a significant supplement both in cash and in lowering their own grocery bills. They also eat like royalty, not to mention it's a rich lifestyle.

You can't even buy a real tomato in most grocery stores.

Roller said...

I think limes came back with the popularity of Brazil. I'm not kidding. Brazilians use lime in everything, and as a member of the BRICK nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Korea), it received a lot of attention in '04 and '05. Lots more Brazilian restaurants around these days, too.

Joel, congrats on the new place. What a great time to move from renting to owning! I don't have your or G's email. I know you don't want to post it here, but I need to find a way to get yours. If you know mine, please shoot me a note. Otherwise we'll have to go through someone else...

Gene said...

Amazing, Matt! I'm going to have to reconsider my longstanding notion that pears are, well, kind of frumpy. I appreciate the analysis, and I just might try one soon.

I don't know if the pineapple is truly underappreciated, but it sure is tasty. Along with the lime, I conjures up images of summertime and vacations. And as for overrated, Ryan's comments are spot on. The only fruit that rivals the honeydew melon in a fruit salad is the moist sliced banana. Bananas should never be consumed in such a fashion.

As for veggies, I love grilled bell peppers. And fresh spinach. And mushrooms. Matt, I've finally come around to a certain extent and have begun to truly enjoy mushrooms. I like them more when mixed in a fresh dish, such rich flavor.

Overrated veggie? That's easy. The water chestnut is the biggest piece of crap food I've ever encountered. Tasteless crunching is not a consumptive goal of mine.

G. Smith said...

I was never into pears until I had them in spinach salad with gorgonzola cheese, and walnuts. I should give them another go solo.

Water chestnuts are veggies? I
thought they were some crazy noodle that no one could cook right.

I have come to the defense of the mango - they are indeed usually too expensive, but the sweet, juicy, meaty, sloppy exercise of eating one is almost a dionysian experience for me. Walk away covered in mango juice and very satisfied.

Berries of all sorts really make me smile - blue, ras, black, straw - out in Washington state we'd spend hours picking huckleberries on hikes.

and I'm soooo happy to agree with Ryan, honeydew is cheap fruit salad filler. Substitute with pears, or pineapple, berries, or even more cantaloupe.

Up with farming! It's been one of my pure joys in the last three years at our rental place. My favorite was our salsa plot, where we grew onions, cilantro, tomatoes and jalapenos.

I can't wait until next season - I now have a very big yard to work with. Looking forward to strawberries, snap peas, beets jalapenos, squash, radishes (great with beer), spinach, kale, broccoli, chard, maybe grapes, hopefully a blueberry bush and of course tomatoes. My favorite experience is with the compost - there is nothing like planting veggies and fruits in dirt you made from the husks and peels of the veggies and fruit you planted and ate the year before.

Roller said...

G, that is both impressive and inspiring. Hopefully we'll dive into it next Spring.

To those who have experience in gardening, what is your best solution for keeping the little critters from eating your whole supply?

Roller said...

And Geno, spot on call on Water Chestnuts!

Ryan said...

Indeed, excellent call on the water chestnuts. I always thought those were stupid little things that my mom put into dishes to punish us with.

Rollz, I would encourage you to try mushrooms again. 3 years ago, I still hated them. My brother encouraged me to try them again, which I did. Fried, stuffed mushrooms as apps were a good gateway. Then eventually I started cooking them on my own. Still don't like portobellas and shitake, but those white button mushrooms are excellent.

I also agree with G on mangos. Vanessa taught me how to eat one by cutting it open and spooning it out, and it's absolutely great. It's dinosauryan to me.

My next door neighbor in my old apartment used to keep a big metal box with redworms in it. He would compost there, using strips of wet newspaper (recycle dude!) and all organic waste. They would turn it over into the richest, darkest soil you ever saw.

We've also been experimenting with grilling all vegetables. It's the only way I like the squash/zuchini type veggies (note: do not slice in little circles, they'll fall in the grill, slice oblong). Grilled bell peppers are the best. Geno, you can also scorch them black on the grill, then peel them and cut them up and serve them cold in olive oil and garlic, Italian style. Excellent.

Last year, my roomie planted his first garden with no fence. The green beans were eaten right away by the rabbits who would just sit there perched up picking them off. The zuchini grew out but then were half eaten, which was insulting and mostly from the squirrel. We'd find them lying around, half-eaten, half-rotten. What, our vegetables aren't good enough for you?

We surrounded the garden this year in a fairly fine chicken wire. (It's more expensive than I would have thought.) It's about 2 1/2 feet tall. Turns out rabbits could jump it but they're too dumb to figure that out. Don't think the squirrels have gotten in yet either but they probably could.

Looking forward to trying some pears and apricots now. Used to eat something called a nectarine as a kid, should try to find them again.

Ryan said...

P.S. Our neighborhood is filled with gardens, the food kind. An asian family across our alley has one of the best ones, but I can't tell what they're growing. It may be a rice patty for all I know, it's extremely geometrical. Another family down the way has huge gardens, front and back yards and has their barbq pits (sometimes 2) going most nights.

As long as you still have enough lawn space for a slip and slide, I think why grow grass when you can grow food?

I also had worked out the plans for a ~100 acre farm with my brother and dad a couple years ago. It was a chestnut farm (not water chestnut). There is a whole wild history to chestnuts, and I think they'll continue to be more common in the U.S. (already very common in Europe and China)... very healthy for you. I just couldn't find anyone to tend the farm.

Roller said...

Rye, I'll be interested to hear if the chicken wire worked throughout the season. I have a memory of my dad standing in his garden... frustrated with the tomatoes, etc. getting half-eaten. He announced to no one in particular "I'm gonna get a cat." We got two cats, and they were pretty good deterrents. They would hide in the garden and wait for squirrels or rabbits. I convinced the family to name them Jones and Bonnie, secretly happy that I had tricked them into naming the cats after John Paul Jones and John Bonham.

Ryan I wish I knew about your lack of a garden tender. I would have approached you with a fake white beard and a walking stick. "Oooo, I'll be happy to teeend yer garrrden, Meester Ryan."

Doughboy said...

I had been working on a response to the health care debate issue and it took me so long, Ryan shut down the responses. As a result, I'll just comment on this vital topic.
First, I will never look down on pears after I tried one of those Christmas pears that you get from Harry and Davids. Lisa and I went to her Aunts house one Thanksgiving and she had those pears there. They are incredibly expensive, like $40 or something for ten pears. It comes in all this packaging as well. It is the least environmentally friendy way to eat fruit next to burning down a part of the Amazon to plant a tomato garden. The carbon footprint of just one pear is the equivalent of flying cross country like seven times. Literally, I think a polar bear cub dies each time you eat one of those pears. But, nevertheless, they taste so good, you start to believe the world just might not need polar bear cubs.

Finally, one of the simplest but most delicious things that I have recently encountered- the BLTA. It is a BLT with Avacado. You should try one right now.

Marty said...

Crazy...I went on vacation for like 9 days, and I come back and theloopandthelou has to shut down commenting on a post, and then has 16 comments already on a post about fruits and vegetables...awesome...don't eat much fruit, I'll eat a nice granny smith apple, some grapes, a nice watermelon in the summer, but I'm pretty much disgusted by the rest of them...mostly because of the texture.

Vegetables and avocados on the other hand are a different story...I could bathe in guacamole while rubbing myself down with whole avocados, and echo everyone's sentiments on all grilled veggies...there's really nothing of note in this post, its just been a while...and i think its crazy that Doughboy chooses to kill bears by eating pears...its not just an odd choice, but it rhymes

Ryan said...

Rollo, Vanessa just bought 2 pears to try. I brought one to school for lunch but forgot your warning, it was too hard and tasted disgusting. It was also reddish, which was weird. I shall do better with the next one.

Roller said...

There are a few different types of pears. The ones I usually get are Anjou.

And yes, pears seem to require ripeness to be delicious as much as any fruit/veggie I've eaten. I've made the same mistake you have, and you're right they are pretty disgusting!