Over the last couple of weeks I've learned some fun fruit facts from my mom. She is taking a master gardeners class at her local college and always has some cool information to share. Recently she shared a couple of fun fruit facts that just blew my mind and I had to share them with all of you.
Let's first talk about apples. There are adages like "An apple a day will keep the doctor away." I've been told apples can help a child with diarrhea and that over all they are great for your health. What I didn't know was that apples have super ripening powers. Yes you heard me right, apples have secret powers just like our favorite super heroes.
Apples produce a hormone called Ethylene. Ethylene causes other fruits to ripen more rapidly. In fact the produce industry uses this hormone to ripen "green" produce. Those Florida oranges you eat for breakfast were more than likely not picked orange. They would start to rot before it made it to your local market in the western states. Thus they pick the oranges green and place them in an Ethylene room for a short while to ripen them before they are placed in the produce section ready for you to buy. As they ripen they will change from green to orange.
So what does that have to do with our apples? If apples naturally produce this particular hormone they can help to ripen some of your other fruits. Thus, if you have an avocado, peach, kiwi, or some other fruit that you need to ripen within say 6-24 hours (it varies by fruit), all you need to do is place the fruit in a paper lunch sack with an apple for a few hours and PRESTO, you have ripened fruit.
As a result of this super power it may not be a wise idea to keep your apples in a confined space such as a bowl. The ethylene is heavier than air and will not leave the bowl but rather increase in concentration shortening your apple's lifespan. This means that the pretty assorted fruit bowl sitting on your table, apples and all, is actually causing your fruit to spoil quicker. Have no fear, all is not lost. The solution is simple. Find a bowl for your apples that has holes such as a wire basket. If you have a hanging wire bowl with several tiers, place your apples on the bottom and your other fruit on the upper tiers. (Remember Ethylene is heavy.) Finally, keep your apples separated from your other fruits unless your intention is to ripen those other fruits quickly.
Who knew? What fun fruit facts do you know about apples?