Fruit

In biology, a fruit is the ripened ovary of a plant that produces seeds. For example, avocado, apples_, avocados_, bannanas_ beans_, bannanas_, citrus, coconuts_, corn, grains, grapes_, nuts, olive, peppers_, pumpkin_, and tomatoes_.

A seed is a plant embryo wrapped in a protective covering.

Contents

1   Kinds

1.1   Apple

static/images/apple_sweetness_scale.jpg

This doesn't need to be an image.

static/images/apple_tartness_to_sweetness.jpg

Every seed in an apple will grow a tree with a different kind of apple. Apples are cloned so that the flavor stays the same.

`Johnny Appleseed`_ planted apple trees in order to make booze for frontiersmen, as the type of apple he planted was almost inedible

1.2   Avocado

Many large fruited plants are thought to have evolved to appeal to megafauna that no longer exist. Avocados are an example- a huge amount of biological energy goes into a fatty fruit, and a seed that no animal would swallow. The best the tree could hope for is that a monkey would carry it a few feet. The puzzle makes sense when one observes elephants gorging themselves on avocados, and swallowing the seeds, which survive digestion.


After large animals went extinct, such as the mammoth, avocados had no method of seed dispersal, which would have lead to their extinction without early human farmers

1.3   Banana

  • Commonly known as desert banana
  • More savory version is plantain

Once a banana starts to over ripen - be it from time or from some sort of damage to the peel - the starches start to break down into sugars. That's what makes brown, or bruised, bananas taste sweeter.

1.4   Pepper

Pepper is a fruit.

The longer the pepper is on the vine, the more it is open to problems such as discoloration from the sun, bacterial diseases, and insect pressures. Further, more time on the plant also means less production. This explains why green peppers are cheaper.

The reason pepper plants want birds to eat them is because they don't grind their food with teeth. Mammals that eat plants tend to destroy any pepper seeds they consume by grinding them down during chewing. So peppers selected towards capsaicin_, which only tastes "bad" to the species that destroy their seeds.

1.5   Olive

1.5.1   Black olive

The black olive—also known as the California ripe olive—was invented in Oakland_, by a German widow named `Freda Ehmann`_. In the mid-1890s all she had was an olive grove nobody thought was worth very much.

She got a recipe from the `University of California`_ for artificially ripening olives. (Green olives are pickled green— as in, not ripe.)

Freda perfected the recipe, sold her olives locally, then went East to open up new markets. She scored her first hit in Philadelphia.

Eventually, she had a national business, requiring new orchards, and factories. She kept going back to the University of California for more tips—including packaging.

"When she first went to Philadelphia, she had them in kegs and barrels—just sort of loosely covered, you know," Taylor says. "Not sealed." Then, glass jars. Gradually they developed a technique of sealing the jars effectively. And with that came trouble. That's a perfect cultural medium for botulism.

In 1919, olive-related botulism outbreaks started killing people. The 1919 case didn't involve Freda Ehmann’s olives. But a 1924 case did.

The whole industry switched to a new standard for the ripe California olive. It has to be heated to 240 degrees, and only a can, not a glass jar, would tolerate that. Eventually, California olives came back in cans.

1.6   Citrus

All citrus, like almost all agricultural products, are the results of centuries of selective breeding. Limes and lemons did not exist in nature. Citrus products are the result of cross breeding of four different original species.

1.7   Tomato

  • Sun-dried
    • Pre-treated with salt of sulfur_
    • 4-10 days in sun
    • Lose 90% of weight
    • Keep nutritional value

2   Dispersal

Most plants are rooted in place, which makes dispersing their fruits and seeds particularly important. Seeds that are spread far from the parent plant avoid competition with their relatives for resources and have the opportunity to colonize new areas. [1]

2.1   Wind

Small fruit or seeds with fine fluff can be carried high up into the air. Herbaceous plants of open areas (like dandelions, cattails, and milkweeds) often have this adaptation. Their seeds float up over neighboring plants even if the parent is growing low to the ground. [1]

2.2   Water

Sea bean seeds are adapted for dispersal by ocean currents. Sea bean vines grow along rivers and coasts. When the pods ripen, they split open and the seeds drop into the water. The beans have a thick seed coat to keep the salt-water out, and have internal structures which make them buoyant enough to float. They can drift for hundreds of miles before washing up onto land. [1]

Coconuts (which are single-seeded fruits) are also adapted for water dispersal. Like sea beans, they have a thick shell to prevent the salt-water from damaging the seed, and the buoyant hull keeps the nut floating. [1]

2.3   Animal transport

Brightly colored fruits advertise for dispersers. They are highly visible to birds_, promising a nutritious (and often sugary) reward. The seeds are tough and usually undamaged when eaten. They are dispersed when the bird makes a rest stop. [1]

Immature seeds in unripe fruit would die if eaten. The green of young fruit hides them among leaves. Unripe fruit are sour or bitter to discourage animals that do find them. Green fruit cling tightly to the plant, making it hard for animals to remove them. [1]

Cockle burrs are dry fruit adapted for animal dispersal. The hooked spines catch on the hair (or socks) of passing animals. Dispersal is complete when the animal picks off the offending burr, hopefully dropping it in a new location suitable for growth. [1]

3   Products

Fruit jams are made from actual fruit. Jellies are made from fruit juice. Preserves have chunks of fruit. Marmalades have peel and pulp.

4   Further reading

5   References

[1](1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) Dr. Mary Whitson. http://www.nku.edu/~whitsonma/Bio120LSite/Bio120LReviews/Bio120LPlantRev.html