Episode 7: Two Brutes Talkin Fruits
History of fruit cultivation:
I grew up in New England, so my understanding of fruit as a kid was pretty New England-centric. Ya got apples in the fall, which you pick for one weekend in October and make a whole day out of it. Cider and doughnuts and shit. That is dope. Apples are great, and most of the apples that we eat year-round kind of suck. I remember loving those visits to the orchard in autumn. It tricks you into thinking that the upcoming winter won’t absolutely crush your spirit. Spoiler alert: it WILL! Ain’t enough apples in Connecticut to make an April blizzard worth it. There were also some pear trees, which were my favorite fruit for awhile, because a good goddamn juicy pear rules. Problem with pears is that most of them suck.
In summer we had berries. We would go to a farm to pick those too. Strawberry season was dope. They were smaller than store-bought berries and red all the way through. Blueberries were the size of grapes and deep purple. BUT, all the other fruits that weren’t good for the climate came in from across the world. I thought for the first twenty-four years of my useless life that all mangoes tasted like pine trees. There was one kind of banana, the big fucking yellow one, and they were strictly for Dads to eat before work or as a disappointing accompaniment to a bagged lunch. Folks, the fruit world was fairly bleak.
Then I lived in Laos and tasted pineapple, real ass pineapple from a guy who grew it. My mind exploded. It was small and honeyed. I ate mangoes in tropical forests, mangoes covered in pepper and salt, green mangoes, mangoes the color of the DAMN SUN that tasted like nothing else. It was the same thing as those awful early colonists from Spain who discovered tropical fruits and said this about pineapple: 'The most invincible King Ferdinand relates that he has eaten another fruit brought from those countries. It is like a pinenut in form and color, covered with scales, and firmer than a melon. Its flavor excels all other fruits.' Yes, the history behind colonization and extractive capitalism is terrible, but can we please say that this is super cute.
As a side note, here are some of the TOP cute-ass questions that google is asked about the history of fruit cultivation:
What is the history of fruits?
When was fruit first discovered?
What was the second fruit on Earth?
Which is the sweetest fruit in the world?
Which fruit is very costly in India?
Obviously, fruits have grown in the wild forever. But here’s a paragraph on the history of fruit domestication from Purdue’s Department of Horticulture: “In the late Neolithic and Bronze Ages between 6000 and 3000 BCE, the ancient Mediterranean fruits (date, olive, grape, fig, sycomore fig, and pomegranate) were domesticated (Zohary and Spiegel-Roy 1975). Fruits such as citrus, banana, various pome fruits (apple, pear, quince, medlar) and stone fruits (almond, apricot, cherry, peach, and plum) were domesticated in Central and East Asia and reached the West in antiquity. A number of fruits and nuts were domesticated only in the 19th and 20th centuries (blueberry, blackberry, pecan, and kiwifruit).”
Dates are nicknamed “the first fruit” because they are among the first ancient domesticated mediterranean fruits. So that’s really cute, too.
Brother, quickly–what’re your top five fruits?
There are a ton of great fruit experts and fruit tasters on the internet. If you’re looking for amazing fruit analysis, you won’t find it HERE! Additionally, obtaining rare fruits can be very pricey. For instance, if you went to miamifruit.org and got their black Zapote box, you’d spend $297 on their bulk box. Plus shipping, and you’re spending $350ish on fruits! Folks, we need your patreon support if you want us to really get in the weeds on rare fruits. I have a feeling you do. Even though we live amongst plenty of tropical fruits, these rare finds are expensive because they are rare. If you want great YouTube content, watch any rare fruit tasting. Weird Explorer and Emmy Made are the best ones. It’s just good clean fun!
A note on hybrid fruit: I wanted to just talk about fruit hybrids, but the weirdest and dopest fruits are mostly the non hybridized versions. There are tons of weird fruits that exist outside of hybridization. Sure, we can talk about hybrid fruits, but really, of the thousands of fruits that are cultivated around the world, the publicized hybrids are the least interesting.
Hot take alert: all agriculture represents hybridization in a way, because hand selection and germination of crops is a way to make hybrids, right? It isn’t mixing species, but it is finding the strongest and most resilient, or largest and most delicious, so the fruits we eat today are “hybrid” to some extent. Fruits that are mixtures of two species are interesting, but more in the clickbait “you won’t believe which fruits these scientists mixed” kind of way. The most interesting shit you probably haven’t heard of.
We aren’t going to talk about durian because that road has been walked many times before. I’ve had durian plenty of times in my life. It tastes like mashed up garlic and onion. It’s alright, especially as a substitute for mango in mango sticky rice.
Fruits are just so goddamn beautiful. There’s something inspiring about the bright colors and sweetness. It makes you want to believe in god, because how is all this beauty possible? It represents the adeptness of humanity to take something that already exists in nature and turn it into something else. Of course, you could look at this phenomenon in all of agriculture and animal husbandry–we bred hundreds of varieties and chickens and cows, of course–but fruits represent something else for me. It seems as though, despite the fact that certain fruits and the fruit production economy can be disastrous, everybody can kind of get behind fruits as a dope thing.
Let’s just look at this together and you can describe them: