My mother-in-law, in her infinite wisdom, always makes sure to let her grandchildren know that peeling fruit is not a good idea. “Don’t be Mr. Peeler, the vitamin stealer,” she tells them. I’ve always liked this sage advice, and now I can give her (and Mother Nature) credit for being well in front of the scientific community on this fact. It turns out that apple peels fight cancer! A 2007 study by Cornell University found that the skins of apples contain nearly a dozen compounds that restrict or kill human cancer cells in laboratory tests. Thus, when you peel the skin from fruits and vegetables, you lose a lot of nutrition and important phytochemicals (antioxidants).
Harold McGee, in his book On Food and Cooking, talks about how the color of fruits reflect the specific kinds of phytochemicals that their skins contain. As McGee notes on page 271, humans are among a small group of animal species that can visually distinguish between reds, oranges, yellows, and greens—something that allows us to pick out anthocyanin more easily- and carotenoid-rich plants from others.
In 2010, there was a cool summer on the West Coast, and some summer fruit is coming in closer to fall. Our fruit mixes always start to change rapidly as we get into September and October. Because we buy from local growers in each region, we see fruits come and go at different rates. Out West, we saw some hard-to-find fruits, such as organic Sommerfeld apples from Coco Ranch, in Dixon, CA. This unique California-native apple is a cross between a gala and a Fuji. Because of the late spring rains, the Sommerfelds had some spotting, but that doesn’t impact their complex, delicious flavor. In the Midwest, there have been some fabulous gala apples coming out of Niles, MI, from our friend Steve at Lehman Orchards. And some of our East Coast mixes feature wonderful yellow Asian pears from Subarashii Kudamono in Coopersburg, PA. I love the fact that this farm “employs” a team of husky dogs to chase fruit-eating critters out of its 200 acres of orchards. They also place speakers around their trees and play bird distress calls to keep the damage inflicted by avian friends to a minimum—a nice sustainable solution.
Enjoy & Be Fruitful!
—Chris Mittelstaedt firstname.lastname@example.org