Let's hear it for ugly fruit

bruised_cherries.jpg

A common complaint that food lovers and cooks have with supermarkets is that they sell smooth, perfect looking fruits that are hard and tasteless. Tomatoes and peaches come to mind as the top offenders.

This week, Waitrose, an upscale UK supermarket chain, started to sell "ugly fruit", or Class II fruit that they are marketing as being perfect for making jam or for cooking. (Class I, II etc. are European Union classifications for produce.) They will be selling seasonal fruit like gooseberries, rhubarb, plums and strawberries this way. The "ugly fruit" will be sold for slightly less than their pretty counterparts.

This is great news for UK food shoppers and I hope that supermarkets in other countries will follow the Waitrose example. A ripe fruit is so tender that a little bruising is inevitable. The reason why I love to shop at markets, here at home or elsewhere, is that the stalls that are operated by the farmers themselves often have slightly damaged yet ripe and luscious fruits. I bought the carton of cherries in the photo for less than I would have to pay at a supermarket because some of them were just a bit brown on the outside. (Not rotten, just discolored.) I did actually buy then with the thought of turning them into a clafouti or something, but they disappeared into our mouths well before I could do that.

The blame for those smooth, superhard supermarket fruits lies as much with consumers as with the sellers though. Don't we tend to automatically reject a slightly blemished apple, or a nectarine with a soft spot? Since most of us are budget-conscious, if those slightly damaged fruit were a bit cheaper maybe we'd try them. I do hope that the Waitrose attempt will be a big success in the UK.

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Re: Let's hear it for ugly fruit

Ah that is great, you should dig that out of the bottom of the blog just likeyou do with the hristmas recipes

Just today i bought such great cocktail tomatoes, three packages for the price of one because it was weekend and they wanted to *clean the fridge* and some had been a little damaged.

But oh so good...and 2 packages of fresh champignon de paris fpr the price of one.

Not the small one...i like them better than the big but hell...i got my mushrooms and will roast them in the oven instead of turning them into pan fried ones

cyrell | 6 February, 2010 - 15:15

Let's hear it for common sense!

The ban on much of the EU's wonky fruit and vegetables was lifted last year - Hooray!
Unfortunately, there was a bid to reinstate this ban - Boo!

Thankfully, this bid failed. Wonky fruit and vegetables are here to stay!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8587496.stm
Looking forward to ugly peaches and sweet peppers very soon...

Loretta | 26 March, 2010 - 11:11

Best Fruit, ever

Some of the best peaches I have ever had were "seconds" from a local orchard in Kentucky. They weren't perfectly shaped and had sun spotting on them caused by the sun, focused by dewdrops, burning the skin slightly. When the rest of our world consists of perfectly machined goods, we then expect the same from our produce.

We also have a tomato here in the south that doesn't travel well, and looks pretty horrible, but it was specifically created for flavour over looks, and it is so much better than the perfect round ones one so often sees.

iainwb | 26 March, 2010 - 23:12

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