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Any precautions about seedless fruit? Some fruit is getting a little weird.

by (598)
Updated about 7 hours ago
Created May 08, 2014 at 4:56 PM

It's obviously not natural but it's still fruit and, presumably, has a similar nutrient profile just with the added convenience of not watching out for seeds. Seedless fruit is easier to eat at your desk but is there more to it?

For example, apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. It's not much but I prefer not to dose on the stuff. If the apple's seeds are practically nonexistent (I only recently started discovering a lack of seeds in some apples) does that cyanide wind up in the flesh instead? This might be difficult to answer. Especially disconcerting is that most seedless supermarket fruit is no longer advertised. You get home and discover that apples are now seedless... Oh the modernity!

I've also heard circulating rumor that seedless grapes are supposedly nutrient devoid when compared to the seeded kind. Is this complete BS? It's rare to find grapes with seeds these days.

Some large seedless oranges I recently bought seemed more than a little mutant. The flesh was... different... and there were 'patches' that were more white/yellow than "orange", had a spongy texture, and had very little flavor. What's happening to our fruit?

Personally, I don't like seeds. Besides that though it's getting harder to find seed-bearing fruit in the supermarket. They don't even advertise it any more... Am I really that old or is the world just moving too fast?

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1227 · May 13, 2014 at 1:50 AM

Second, you get home after having walked a mile on a warm sidewalk and you want a little acid to rebalance. We now have a 3 gallons kombucha dispenser and both me and my wife get a sip as soon as we are home. I am not even sure kombucha is good for your health, but that is what happens. In the old days it would have been an apple and a kiwi.

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1227 · May 13, 2014 at 1:47 AM

I am eating less fruits than in the old days, even though it is still more than most people here. Two reasons, one, I eat many more fresh roots (beets, carrots, etc.) than in the past and those do replace fruits nutritional needs (carbs, potassium, fermentable fiber, and some vitamin C). It is not conscious or anything, it just works out this way.

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598 · May 12, 2014 at 9:29 PM

So what's your take Matt?

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41471 · May 10, 2014 at 5:11 PM

I don't care for overly simple questions either… I'd just like to see some semblance of critical thinking applied before asking questions. There are such things as dumb questions (I have no future as a grade school teacher.)

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26182 · May 10, 2014 at 12:39 AM

yeah. I had heard about that a couple of months ago (was the source of my comment). bananas are one of the worst in terms of genetic diversity -- but many tropical plants, including avocados and citrus fruits are not far behind. I think I read that if you eat 20 avocados in a year you have almost certainly eaten the same one twice.

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26182 · May 10, 2014 at 12:36 AM

It's not that "big agra" doesn't want you planting your own food. Seeds are cheap -- most consumers are far too lazy/ live in a city. The advantages are: (1) Daughter seeds are cheaper to produce; (2)You can ensure that you are getting quality seeds; (3) You don't have to wait for the previous harvest to mature before planting.

And Big Agra is not the problem. Spend some time here: ers.usda.gov. Almost half of our fruits are now imported, 20% of our vegetables are.

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598 · May 09, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Thanks glib. Your response has been most helpful!

Those apples are beautiful! I'll have to see if they're sold at local produce markets. (same for the grapes)

Peaches - that I'm surprised to hear because peaches were one of the first fruits I went from loving to hating. The ones I had growing up were so AMAZING but these days good ones are hard to find. This may be due to premature harvesting.

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598 · May 09, 2014 at 6:36 PM

My problem is I'm a big fruit lover. I'm trying to replace more of it with veggies, non-sweet fruits (like squash), and with USO's (like tubers) but in the end I just want real fruit! I guess my next step is to go on a quest to find sources of real fruit.

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598 · May 09, 2014 at 6:29 PM

That really bothers me too. I know the motivation for producing seedless fruit goes beyond consumer convenience. They don't want people planting the seeds! And the more land we clear out and devote to plants that can't even reproduce, the more harm we're doing to the ecosystem. Can't we at least work with nature a little?

I hope to see litigation in the near future requiring big agra to go back to selective breeding and seed sharing.

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598 · May 09, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Matt... I used to like you but you're starting to get annoying. Just because my questions aren't simple enough for matt-bot rhetoric doesn't mean they're stupid. Weird, though, you might have me there.

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10994 · May 09, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Something on NPR the other day was talking about a banana fungus that has for the first time been documented in the americas whereas before it was only in asia. They concluded that bananas as we know them today will be extinct in the next 50 years or so.

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41471 · May 09, 2014 at 12:35 PM

You know what's a little weird… your questions.

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1227 · May 09, 2014 at 7:30 PM

A little knowledge of fruits will help you in the right direction. examples from fruits that are my mainstays during certain periods of the year:

- apples. There are a number of varieties that are essentially wild apples. We eat 90% Northern Spy, a wild tree discovered in 1840. These apples have a vitamin C content half that of oranges.

- peaches. Peaches have changed little, to the point where if you plant a pit, you will get good fruit about 90% of the time. My FIL only grows peaches this way (he feeds an army)

- grapes. In terms of phytochemicals, semi-wild types do best, so stop buying seedless, and at least in season buy Concord-type grapes. In my previous backyard, I had numerous concord grapes, planted by birds. They can be invasive, and I would love to grow them now, but my current soil is unsuitable.

If some day you can grow your own, you can buy various types of fruit bags that cover the fruit during growth and essentially remove the need for insecticides. They are heavily used in Japan. I only spray spring fungicides on my own trees, plus a June fungicide for peaches only.

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598 · May 09, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Thanks glib. Your response has been most helpful!

Those apples are beautiful! I'll have to see if they're sold at local produce markets. (same for the grapes)

Peaches - that I'm surprised to hear because peaches were one of the first fruits I went from loving to hating. The ones I had growing up were so AMAZING but these days good ones are hard to find. This may be due to premature harvesting.

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8100 · May 08, 2014 at 10:04 PM

I HATE seedless watermelons, they have no flavor except that they are overly sweet. My impression is that we have hybridized fruit bearing plants (seedless or not) to produce oversweet fruit. While we are playing around with their genomes, we may be causing other problems as we have with wheat. Eating this stuff is making us human guinea pigs--we may not really understand the impact until our grandchildren are trying to start their own families. People who eat a lot of this oversweet fruit may be doing a number on the their pancreases (pancreati?).

Easy for me, since I'm not a big fruit lover, so I eat very limited amounts of fruit. I try to eat heirloom varieties of tomatoes and other fruits instead of the modern wonders when I can. Give me a beefy big old style tomato filled with seeds and juice or an old fashioned, seeded watermelon--the kind you had to sprinkle with a little salt to bring out the sweetness (does anyone here remember doing that????)--and I'd be a happy camper. Plus, I miss the old seed spitting contests I used to have with my cousins, even if I always LOST!

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598 · May 09, 2014 at 6:36 PM

My problem is I'm a big fruit lover. I'm trying to replace more of it with veggies, non-sweet fruits (like squash), and with USO's (like tubers) but in the end I just want real fruit! I guess my next step is to go on a quest to find sources of real fruit.

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26182 · May 08, 2014 at 6:35 PM

There are two types of seedless fruits -- the ones that have been hybridized and the ones that require pollination.

If a plant requires pollination for the seeds to mature, creating "seedless" (I put in quotations because they still contain seeds, just ones that did not mature) is easy, you simply prevent pollination. And allow pollination for others (the ones that you plan to replant)

For the hybrid varieties, I have no concerns consuming them. My concern is the evolutionary future. These fruits are essentially clones of each other, some banana producers are down to fewer than 12 different offsets. Without genetic diversity, a new fungus could wipe out the fruit altogether.

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10994 · May 09, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Something on NPR the other day was talking about a banana fungus that has for the first time been documented in the americas whereas before it was only in asia. They concluded that bananas as we know them today will be extinct in the next 50 years or so.

Medium avatar
598 · May 09, 2014 at 6:29 PM

That really bothers me too. I know the motivation for producing seedless fruit goes beyond consumer convenience. They don't want people planting the seeds! And the more land we clear out and devote to plants that can't even reproduce, the more harm we're doing to the ecosystem. Can't we at least work with nature a little?

I hope to see litigation in the near future requiring big agra to go back to selective breeding and seed sharing.

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1005 · May 08, 2014 at 5:26 PM

I wouldn't avoid fruit for the lack of seed, but that often goes with conventionally grown / sprayed food that's been bred for higher sugar content. Were these Organic varieties? Grapes, for example, are usually treated with pesticides / growth hormones to make them grow larger and they sit next to apples on the dirty dozen list. I tend to avoid the conventional extra sweet stuff and shop organic heirloom. If it tastes good, spit it out. Just about all the fruit I eat is filled with seeds, as nature intended.

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