Introduction Fruits


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The term 'fruits' refers to the edible fruits or seeds of cultivated or wild-growing perennial trees and bushes. The fruits of annual plants such as tomatoes, squashes and melons, on the other hand, are classified botanically as vegetables. There is probably no other food group with such a variety of colours and tastes as fruit. Worldwide there are more than 40,000 kinds of fruit, which are divided into pomes, stone fruits, berries, exotic fruits, wild fruits and hard-shelled dry fruits (cf. 'Customary Fruits Groups in Trade' in the Infobox).

The majority of fruits are eaten fresh. They taste best when they are mature: We speak of them being ripe for consumption. This means that the fruit is fully developed and its colour, juiciness, aroma content and the ratio of fructose to fruit acids are optimal, typical for the variety and harmonically distinct. Hard flesh or pulp, white seeds in pomaceous fruits, or a lack of aroma in strawberries are characteristic of unripe fruit. Under the individual types of fruits you will find information about how to recognize when they are ready to be eaten. There are also tips about correct storage, as fresh fruit spoils quickly and must be eaten within a few days (e.g. strawberries) or weeks (e.g. pears).

Many types of fruit are now available to us throughout the year, even out of their proper season and in some cases imported from great distances. But every fruit has its typical season, and it is then not only most delicious, but also qualitatively of greatest value and as a rule least expensive. This holds as well for fruit that stems from our own area.

Not only does fresh fruit taste good; it is, as everyone knows, very healthy. It contains many essential vitamins, minerals and health-promoting secondary plant substances, and it supplies fibre, with only a few calories. You will find the most important nutrient contents for each fruit under the individual type.

How Fruits Are Sold

Various types of fruit, in particular berries, are also available deep-frozen. The fruit is shock-frozen at -30° to -40° directly after it is harvested, so that both the aroma and the nutrients are preserved to a large extent. In addition there are fruits that are preserved by being heated in air-tight jars or tins. A sugar solution is generally added as the preserving agent. This gives the compote many more calories than fresh fruit. It also changes the taste and the consistency of the products. Numerous types of fruit can also be dehydrated and sold as dried fruit. Due to their very low water content, the nutrients are highly concentrated, and the taste is very intense. With respect to this, as well, you will find information under the given types of fruit.