Fruit + Mouth = YUMPosted on December 22, 2008
When you read a digital clock, do you try to make equations out of the time? When you're driving, do you calculate factors of the mile markers and add license plate numbers up to 24? I do. But sometimes my daydreams about being John Nash don't add up in the fruit world. How do you define delicious? Randall Munroe, former-robotics-scientist-at-NASA-turned-cartoonist, has come up with this illustrated index of fruits, plotted in quadrants measuring "Tasty" vs. "Easy." Of course, the index is based on Munroe's personal preferences. And despite his obvious citrus bias, if a Satsuma Mandarin were plotted, it would go off the charts in both Tasty and Easy! The Satsuma is the smallish, lumpy, occasionally wrinkled-looking piece of citrus in all customers' crates this time of year. The skin naturally hangs a little bit loose around the sections inside the fruit. This is perfectly normal and one of the Satsuma's finest attributes. Some folks refer to the Satsuma as a Zipper-Peel Mandarin, because opening one up is as easy as using a zipper. Just poke your thumb into the loose skin at the base, and zip away. This is the easiest piece of citrus you'll ever eat. For those of you who haven't tried a Satsuma before, don't be intimidated by the loose-skin feel and appearance, it may seem a little unusual, but trust us, it's normal.
There are some areas where math and fruit intersect more seriously. One measure used to quantify the expected sweetness in a piece of fruit is called the Brix scale, named for scientist Adolph Brix who formulated it. To measure a fruit's Brix number, a drop of juice from the fruit is placed on a slide and viewed through a hand-held refractometer. The refractometer can identify the concentration of natural sugar solids present in the juice, which is translated to a Brix that correlates with expected taste of sweetness. A point on the Brix scale is worth a little over one percent sugar solids, and each fruit has it's own score range - an extremely sweet apple will have a Brix of 17 or 18, but a peach may check in with a Brix score in the 60s. You will find lots of high-Brix, Easy, and Tasty treats in your crates this week.
You can see your regional mix here.
Enjoy and be fruitful!
-Jeff Koelemay email@example.com