Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
The fruit is the organ derived from the flower’s ovary (or adjacent stem tissue). It contains the seeds, and promotes their dispersal away from the mother plant. Some fruits are inedible—they’re designed to catch the wind, or the fur of a passing animal—but the fruits that we eat were made by the plant to be eaten, so that an animal would intentionally take it and the seeds away. The fruit has no support, nutrition, or transport responsibilities to the other organs. It therefore consists almost entirely of storage tissue filled with appealing and useful substances for animals. When ready and ripe, it’s usually the most flavorful and tenderest part of the plant.