I just read this article by Victoria Boutenko, www.rawfamily.com. She discusses ripe and unripe fruits and their sugars. I found this to be so interesting and wanted to share it with you too:
“To Eat or Not To Eat Fruit
This is one of the most confusing topics in today’s raw food world. Several of the raw food leaders recommend almost completely eliminating fruit from one’s diet. At the same time, the other experts suggest eating twenty bananas a day. Who is correct?
In my opinion both sides have valid truth to their views. Let me explain. Recently I visited several big cities in the Midwest of the United States, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and others. While looking for ingredients for my green smoothies I visited many different stores. I was deeply distressed to witness a poor variety and condition of produce in general, and fruits in particular. Some stores had a little bit of organic produce, but many of them had none. The farmers markets also had little to zero organic produce. I was able to find greens that were not wilted but I was almost unable to find any ripe, organic fruit. No wonder my smoothies were so tasteless; only my strong belief in their goodness made it possible for me to drink them.
The apples, peaches and pears were all unripe, hard as a rock, and had no aroma or flavor. The berries and grapes were not ripe and often moldy. The oranges, pomegranates, and kiwis were unripe and sour. I asked several people to describe the taste of a pineapple; they all said it is sour. Every time I visited a store in the Midwest my heart ran to all of the customers. I thought, how can I suggest people make green smoothies if the majority of people don’t have access to healthy produce?
I have done some research about the nutrition in fruit. Unfortunately I discovered that there was very little study done on the subject of nutritional benefits of tree ripened fruit. More so, several sources online claim that the nutrition in the fruit becomes better when it is picked unripe and allowed to ripen in storage. In my opinion, this is the wrong conclusion. Being a raw foodist for seventeen years, I learned that I cannot thrive on unripe, conventionally grown fruit.
Every summer I go to u-pick farms in order to get tree or vine ripened fruit, both temperate and tropical, and I have noticed several obvious traits for vine-ripened fruit:
- Has a strong, pleasant smell.
- The skin is thin and easy to peel off.
- The taste is distinctive and rich.
- Most humans find the taste of ripe fruit enjoyable.
- There are fruit flies and insects flying around the fruit.
- The seeds are dark.
When I consume ripe fruit, I feel satisfied for several hours.
After reading this letter some of you might say that it is impossible to distribute vine ripened fruit to stores. I used to believe that too. This year I visited twenty-one countries and of course I was shopping for ingredients everywhere. I discovered that in some counties fruit was expensive and scarce, however the quality was much higher than in most of the supermarkets in the American Midwest. Even in Russia and eastern European countries I was able to find superb quality raspberries, wild strawberries, ripe grapes, apricots so ripe they were almost clear and were juicy and sweet. I was especially amazed at the deliciousness of plums; I had become so used to their plain, sour taste that I stopped buying them in my hometown.
I interviewed several diabetics in Europe. They described how their blood sugar was almost not affected by the consumption of ripe, organic fruit. On the other hand if they consumed un-ripe, conventionally grown fruit they had to inject more insulin. That surprised me because I always thought the riper the fruit, the more sugar it would contain. The only explanation I can think of is that in ripe, organic fruit, the sugar comes with important co-factors that enable the body to absorb the sugars with less negative side effects.
I propose that the scientists do more research on the nutritional comparison between ripe and unripe fruit. I completely understand how eating only unripe, conventionally grown fruit might be considered to be harmful to health.
Some of you might wonder, what can I do if I don’t have access to high quality fruit? First of all, become aware. Second, go to U-pick farms in the summer and freeze berries and fruit for your winter. Third, talk to your local farmers and see if they can help you find a way to provide you with organic produce.
I have a story to share with you. In April I arrived in Thailand at 3am. Valya arrived a day earlier and prepared sliced fruit for me, knowing that I would be hungry after a sixteen-hour flight. I could not recognize the fruit, which was so scrumptious that I woke Valya up to ask what it was. She looked at me with her big round eyes, shrugged her shoulders and said, “Those were mangos”. This anecdote illustrates the vast difference in taste of the same fruit when it’s ripe as opposed to unripe.
Here is another example. Citrus fruit takes a long time to ripen. Some, such as the grapefruit, may take up to eighteen months to ripen. Once they are separated from the tree, they will not increase in sweetness or continue to ripen.(1) If the fruits are picked when still “green”, they often undergo a bleaching or degreening process to bring out the orange or yellow color in their rinds. Some oranges are artificially colored and waxed before marketing.(2) Degreening will only change the color of the skin of citrus fruits. It will not ripen them internally. Exposing the fruit to ethylene gas under controlled environmental conditions carries out degreening.(3)
Many people are not aware that most of the citrus fruit in the stores are unripe and therefore sour. Recently I was on a business trip in California and was fortunate to purchase some ripe Valencia oranges. When I shared them with my friends in Oregon, many of them were so astonished at their sweetness, rich flavor, and appearance that I decided to take a picture of them. Notice that ripe Valencia oranges develop bumps on their skin:
It is my opinion that fruit, if it’s ripe and organic, is an essential part of the human diet. Furthermore I believe that no human could receive adequate nutrition without the consumption of high quality fruit. However I don’t recommend an exclusively fruitarian diet because it is not complete. Greens are the most nutritious food on our planet. In my food pyramid greens take the first place and ripe organic fruit takes the second. What you put on top of your pyramid is your personal choice, which is another big topic.
With Green Love,
By Åsa Paul-Johansson
On the Lime – Raw Foods
Fort Lauderdale area, Florida