Before Ripening: Growth and Expansion

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
A fruit is a distinct organ that develops from the flower, and in particular from the flower’s female tissue, the ovary, which encloses the plant’s maturing seeds. Most fruits are simply the thickened ovary wall, or else they incorporate nearby tissues as well. Apples and pears, for example, are made up mainly of the stem tip in which the flower parts are embedded. The fruit usually develops into three distinct layers: a thin outer protective skin, a thin inner protective coat around the central mass of seeds, and a thick, succulent, flavorful layer in between.