A Survey of Common Fruits

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

The vegetables described in chapter 6 are mainly plant parts with either mild, accidental flavors (roots, leaves, stalks) or strong defensive ones (the onion and cabbage families). We usually cook them, because cooking improves their flavor and makes them softer and easier to eat. The fruits described in this chapter are parts that the plant creates in order to attract animals to eat them and disperse the seeds within them. So the plant fills these fruits with a mouthwatering mixture of sugars and acids, endows them with pleasant aromas and eye-catching colors, and softens them for us: they’re delicious and beautiful even when raw. The box summarizes the essential flavor elements of some common fruits, especially the balance between sweet and sour that provides their taste foundation.