Fruits With Cores

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Fruits with cores are essential for good health. They offer ample supply of needed vitamins, minerals and other trace elements that nourish both the brain and the body. There is a wide array of fruits that have cores: apples, pears, pineapples, papayas, mangoes, etc. You must incorporate these fruits in your diet plan in order to keep your body healthy and fit.

How To Core Fruits And Vegetables

Coring refers to removing both the rough outer skin and the seeds from fruits and vegetables. Often time consuming, it’s a vital part of the cooking process as it results in the most tender and succulent ingredients possible. Because it’s so labor intensive, most individuals will rely on a coring machine, which uses cranks and levers to remove the skin and seeds.

If you’re inclined to learn the art of coring, here is a guide to several of the more commonly cored foods:

Apples 
When it comes to apples, the traditional approach is to cut the fruit into quarters and then core each section. However, that method is far too inefficient for many restaurateurs, and the preferred way is to core the entire apple all at once. To do that, you’ll need to hold the apple upright with the stem facing the ceiling. Then slice off two sides on either end of the core’s approximate location. From there, cut off the two remaining sides, at which point you should have the core and four flat slices of apple. You can then dice or slice those side pieces without worrying about the core.

Onions
To begin, you’ll need to remove the tips of the onion to create a flat surface. Once that’s done,slice the onion from the bottom up through the top and then begin peeling away the outer layer of the onion. About halfway through the onion itself, you should notice that the core is beginning to slip away from the rest of the actual vegetable. At this point, stop about a quarter inch from the actual core and remove it by hand. Always be careful in removing the core as to not damage the remaining onion.

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Strawberries
Because they’re much smaller than most other coring fruits and veggies, there are several methods for handling strawberries. Perhaps the most widely used is to take a paring knife and slice the stem off where it meets the core. With this technique, you’ll need to use your thumb as a guide on the flat side of the knife. Alternatively, you can drive a straw up the rear of the berry until the leaves pop off. Or, and this is perhaps the most direct method, use a grapefruit spoon to scoop the leaves out.

Pears
Pears pose a unique challenge in coring because the core itself is slightly smaller than the apple’s core, which makes it noticeably more difficult to scoop without damaging the remaining fruit. That’s why you’ll want to use a melon baller. Cut the pear in half and then use the melon baller to scoop out the core, which should come out in one larger chunk. The melon baller works over a traditional spoon because it’s the right size for the core and is decidedly sharper. This same technique works for apples but is more preferred for coring pears because they are softer.

Rose Family: RosaceaeApples

Apples (Malus communisM. pumila, & M. sylvestris), pears (Pyrus communis) and quince (Cydonia oblonga) belong to the rose family (Rosaceae), and include literally hundreds of cultivated varieties. In the apple, the original ancestral species is obscured by so many cultivated variations throughout the centuries that some authors lump them all into one species, Malus domestica. They all originated in western Asia (or Eurasia) and are characterized by fleshy fruits called pomes. In the pome, a thick, fleshy hypanthium layer (also called the floral cup or calyx tube) surrounds (and is fused with) the seed-bearing ovary or core. The sepals, petals and stamens arise from the rim of the hypanthium. Since the ovary is situated below the attachment of the sepals, petals and stamens, it is termed “inferior” in technical plant taxonomy books. The fleshy hypanthium of a rose (Rosa) surrounds a cluster of small one-seeded achenes. Since the achenes represent separate ripened ovaries all derived from a single flower, the entire structure (called a rose hip) can be considered an aggregate fruit or etaerio. Rose hips are eaten raw and are ground up as a supplemental source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

The edible part of most fruits is the actual ovary, but in apples and pears only the outer hypanthium layer is eaten (unless you enjoy eating the core). Other members of the rose family that produce pomes are hawthorne (Crataegus), service berry (Amelanchier), Pyracantha, and California holly or toyon (Heteromeles), also listed under the genus Photinia. The name Hollywood, California is derived from the small, bright red, holly-like pomes of California holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia), a common native shrub in the hills where this city was established. California holly is not related to true holly (Ilex), a member of the holly family (Aquifoliaceae).

Most of the apples grown commercially are diploid (2n), although there are many triploid varieties. For example, ‘Gravenstein’ apples are triploid with a chromosome number of 51 (3n=51). They are produced by the union of a diploid egg (2n=34) and a haploid sperm (n=17). This is accomplished by crossing a tetraploid plant (4n=68) with an ordinary diploid plant (2n=34). Because the triploid (3n) varieties are sterile, they must be propagated by grafting, where the scions of choice cultivars are grafted to hardy, pest-resistant root stalks.

Apples are mentioned throughout most of recorded human history. The generic name Malus is derived from the Latin word malus or bad, referring to Eve picking an apple in the Garden of Eden; however, some biblical scholars think the fig, and not the apple, was the forbidden fruit picked by Eve. One of the earliest records of any fruit eaten by people of the Middle East is the common fig (Ficus carica). Remnants of figs have been found in archeological excavations dating back to the Neolithic era, about 1000 years before Moses. The fig is also the first tree mentioned in the Bible in the story of Adam and Eve. There are some scholars who think the apricot is a more likely candidate because it was an abundant fruit (along with figs) in the ancient Palestine area. Other interesting tales about apples include Johnny Appleseed, William Tell, Sir Isaac Newton, and Apple Computers.

Assorted cultivars of apples (Malus domestica): A. ‘Fuji,’ B. ‘Granny Smith,’ C. ‘Braeburn,’ D. ‘Red Delicious,’ and E. ‘McIntosh.’

Homegrown ‘Granny Smith’ apples and Anita Marks’ delicious homemade apple pie.

Fruits With Stone Cells In Flesh (Sclereids): Pears & Quince

Pears and quince also produce fruits called pomes. There have essentially the same structure as apples, except they contain numerous stone cells in their fleshy mesocarp tissue. Stone cells (sclereids) are isodiametric cells (with equal diameters) and with very thick, sclerified cell walls. They appear like square cells with rounded off corners under high magnification (400 X). Stone cells are responsible for the gritty texture of pears and quince. Quince fruits have even more stone cells than pears and are used mostly for preserves and jellies.

Varieties of the common pear (Pyrus communis): A. and B. Red and yellow ‘Bartlett’ pears, C. ‘Comice’, D. ‘Seckel’ and E. ‘Bosc.’Other species with gritty stone cells in the juicy (fleshy) mesocarp: F. Asian Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) and G. Quince (Cydona oblonga). Like apples and pears, the quince is a pome, and the freshly-cut mesocarp quickly becomes oxidized and turns brown when exposed to the air. Quinces are commonly made into preserves and jellies.

Magnified view of stone cells (sclereids) from the juicy mesocarp of a ‘Bartlett’ pear. The cells are about 50 micrometers in length (0.00196 inches). They have a very thick cell wall with branched (ramiform) pit canals. The central cell cavity (lumen) is small and inconspicuous.

Greatly magnified stone cell (sclereid) from the juicy mesocarp of a ‘Bartlett’ pear. Its shape superficially resembles a microscopic Cheerio®. Each cell is smaller than the squamous epithelial cells (cheek cells) that line your buccal mucosa inside your mouth. Photo taken with a Sony W-300 digital camera mounted on an Olympus compound laboratory grade microscope. Note: Stone fruits of the genus Prunus have stone cells (sclereids) in the hard endocarps (pits) of their fruits (drupes). See section of peaches, cherries, etc, below).

Ornamental Pear

I originally thought this was an Asian Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) with immature fruits, but thanks to Stephen Facciola, author of Cornucopia, it is an ornamental Chinese pear (P. calleryana) grown for flowers & fall colors. It is sometimes called “callery pear” and has many varieties. The fruits are typically sterile and do not develop. The commonly cultivated “evergreen pear” or “flowering pear” (P. kawakamii) of the Sunset Western Garden Book is listed in the Flora of China 9: 173-179 (2003) as P. calleryana var. calleryana. In fact, P. kawakamii is listed as “unresolved” on the Kew Plant List.

Flowering Quince

Japanese flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa), a small tree or shrub in the rose family (Rosaceae) native to China. The fruits (pomes) are used for jellies and jams. Note: Jelly is a transparent spread of clear fruit juice boiled with sugar and pectin. Jam contains crushed fruit boiled with sugar.

Loquat

Another interesting pome in the rose family (Rosaceae) with a flavor reminescent of apples and pears is the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). The loquat is a small evergreen tree with broad, prominently-veined leaves and fragrant white flowers. This species was once placed in the genus Photinia, along with California holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia). It is native to eastern China and Japan where it is commonly cultivated. It is also grown in California, Florida and the Gulf states. The fruit is eaten fresh and is made into jellies, pies and sauces.

The loquat fruit (Eriobotrya japonica) is also a pome.

There are many additional pome fruits from the rose family, including the medlar (Mesipulus germanica), a small deciduous tree native to Europe and Asia Minor. The ripe, apple-shaped fruits are eaten raw and used in preserves.


Stone Fruits Of The Genus Prunus

The rose family also includes many economically-important fruit trees known as stone fruits in the genus Prunus. Botanists have moved some of these species into separate genera, including Amygdalus (peach) and Armeniaca (apricot). Some examples of stone fruits are fuzzy-skinned peaches (P. persica syn. Amygdalus persica), smooth-skinned peaches called nectarines (another variety of P. persica), plums (P. domestica), apricots (P. armeniaca syn. Armeniaca vulgaris), and cherries (P. avium and P. cerasus). Like apples and pears, there are hundreds of cultivated varieties. These fruits are technically referred to as drupes because they consist of an outer skin or exocarp, a thick, fleshy middle layer or mesocarp, and a hard, woody layer (endocarp) surrounding the seed. The part of these fruits that is eaten by people is the mesocarp layer and also the exocarp if you don’t bother to peel them. The woody endocarp layer protects the seed and probably aids in the dispersal of drupaceous fruits by hungry herbivores. In wild plants with drupes, the seeds can pass through the entire digestive system of grazing animals and be planted in new locations. The almond (Prunus amygdalus syn. Amygdalus communis) is also a drupe with a green exocarp and thin mesocarp surrounding the pit. When you crack open an almond to get the seed, you are actually cracking open the endocarp layer.Pluot

Some species of Prunus have been artificially crossed to produce some unusual hybrids. The peachcot (Prunus persica x P. armeniaca) is a hybrid between the peach and apricot; the cherrycot (P. besseyi x P. armeniaca) is a hybrid between the cherry and apricot; the plumcot (P. domestica x P. armeniaca) is a hybrid between the plum and apricot. Some of these hybrids have many different named cultivars, depending on which varieties of stone fruits have been crossed together. In addition, hybrids often retain more characteristics of one parent and are given special names. For example, some cultivars of plumcots are called “pluots” because these resemble plums more than apricots. Plumcots called “apriums” resemble apricots more than plums.

Plumcots, a delicious hybrid between the plum (Prunus domestica) and apricot (P. armeniaca). Since this cultivar resembles its plum parent more than its apricot parent, it is called a “pluot.” Plumcot cultivars that resemble apricots more than plums are called “apriums.”

Stone fruits of the genus Prunus typically contain poisonous hydrocyanic (prussic) acid (HCN) in the pits and foliage. Since the poisonous cyanide is combined with one or more sugars, these molecules are referred to as cyanogenic glucosides. If you crush the leaves of a stone fruit tree, such as a cherry or apricot, you can smell the faint, almond-like odor of cyanide. The effects of hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) on the human body is disastrous because it inhibits the action of the vital enzyme cytochrome oxidase during cellular respiration. Without the oxidation of glucose, ATP production ceases. Therefore, HCN poisoning is essentially asphyxiation at the cellular level, because oxygen is not utilized at key steps in the Krebs (citric acid) cycle. The cells thus die from lack of oxygen even though oxygen is plentiful in the blood. As little as 0.06 gram has caused death in some people. This is why it is considered unwise to dine on the seeds inside the pits of stone fruits. The exception appears to be almonds; however, some people feel that almonds should be consumed in moderation. The cyanogenic glucoside found in the seeds of apricots, bitter almonds, cherries and plums is called amygdalin. It is used in the preparation of Laetrile, a highly controversial, alternative treatment for certain cancers.Peach

A ‘California’ peach (Prunus persica), a freestone peach grown in California’s fertile Central Valley. The fruit is called a drupe because it is composed of three distinct layers: An outer skin or exocarp (A), a fleshy middle layer or mesocarp (B), and a hard, woody layer (endocarp) surrounding the seed. The lower pit (removed from another peach) has been sectioned to show the thick, woody layer or endocarp (C) surrounding a single seed (D).
The pit of a peach (Prunus persica) showing the seed that is contained inside the hard, woody endocarp layer. The endocarp is the inner layer of the fruit wall or pericarp. It is surrounded by a fleshy mesocarp and a thin outer skin or exocarp. Fruits with a distinct endocarp layer surrounding the seed are called drupes. The endocarp protects and aids in the dispersal of the vulnerable seed, especially when it is swallowed by a hungry herbivore.

Almond

The fresh, greenish fruit of an almond (Prunus amygdalus) contains the familiar one-seeded endocarp (unshelled almond) that is commonly sold in supermarkets during the holiday season. Each hard-shelled endocarp contains a single seed.

Apricot

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca) showing fleshy drupe containng a hard, stony endocarp. The endocarp contains a single seed that is toxic because of high levels of cyanogenic glucosides.

Cherries

Bing cherries (Prunus avium) showing the long stalk (pedicel) and fleshy drupe containng a hard, stony, seed-bearing endocarp. Sweet cherries such as these are usually considered to belong to P. avium, while sour cherries belong to the P. cerasus group. There are literally hundreds of varieties of cherries. Maraschino cherries are made from sweet cherries which have been bleached, deseeded, and soaked in a sugar solution to which red food coloring and flavoring have been added. Maraschino cherries are commonly covered with chocolate, placed as a decorative topping in ice cream sundies, and in mixed drinks.

Two native stone fruits in San Diego County, California. Left: Desert Apricot (Prunus fremontii) in Anza-Borrego Desert; Right: Western Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana var. demissa) on Palomar Mountain.

What Are Pomes?

Medlars, a pome varietal, on a wooden table

Despite different textures and tastes, apples, pears, loquats, medlars, and quinces are all types of pome.

The plants that bear pomes belong to the apple subtribe, called Malinae, of the rose family, Rosaceae. The much larger rose family includes peach trees, strawberry plants, flowering almond trees, and hawthorn bushes.

Shared Traits

Pomes all share certain structural similarities. Like strawberries and figs, pomes are accessory fruits: Their edible flesh forms not only from the ovary but from other parts of the flower. Accessory fruits are distinct from aggregate fruits (e.g., berries) and simple fruits (e.g., nuts).

Fused carpels (the female reproductive organs of the flower) encase the seeds to form each pome’s core. The endocarp (a tough, fibrous flesh) surrounds the seeds, and the softer mesocarp (the pome’s edible flesh) encases the endocarp. The pome’s epicarp (the skin) protects the edible flesh.

Pome Trees

Trees that bear pomes are deciduous, shedding their leaves in the fall and lying dormant in the winter. These trees flower in the spring, then bear fruit in the summer. Harvest usually occurs in the late summer and early fall.

Uses for Pomes

People have been eating pomes for millennia. Scholars estimate that nearly 60 percent of pomes grown throughout human history were cider fruits rather than dessert fruits. In fact, hard cider was the most popular and accessible alcoholic beverage in the United States until the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Prohibition dealt a fatal blow to many American apple orchards, and beer has since become the country’s drink of choice.

Pome Growth

Pomes are particularly well-suited to interspecies grafting: A single pome rootstock can support nearly 20 cultivars. Apples, pears, and Asian pears are often grown on the same tree—not only does this ensure variety, but it protects the fruits from certain diseases and pests.

Of course, apples are the most popular type of pome in Europe and America, followed closely by pears and Asian pears. Horticulturists have developed hundreds of cultivars of each species, though a few specific ones dominate the market.

Loquats are a hardy species that grow best in a warm, subtropical climate and enjoy widespread popularity in the Middle East and Asia. North American loquats are usually ornamental plants since cold temperatures prevent the fruit from developing a sweet, pleasant flavor.

Medlars, quinces, and rowans were popular fruits in Europe for many centuries but fell out of favor as apples and pears were cultivated to produce more flavorful fruit in larger numbers. Quinces can still be found in some specialty markets, but medlars and rowans are no longer grown commercially.

List of edible pomes:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Asian pears
  • Quinces
  • Loquats
  • Rowans
  • Medlars
  • Crab apples

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