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The Uglier The Fruit, The Better It Tastes: How Blemished Food Is Leading A Tastebud Revolution

“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection”

Image via Flickr

Do you overlook scarred, pockmarked fruits and veggies while hunting for perfect produce? If so, you’re not alone, but new research suggests you might want to rethink your shopping strategy.


There is mounting evidence that when apples fight off disease, pests, and other stressors—the cause of unsightly scabs, blisters, and misshapen fruit—they develop more healthy antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]As far as aesthetics go, imperfections benefit us more than a perfect carrot.[/quote]

Orchardist and cider-maker Eliza Greenman is passionate about imperfect apples. In a recent sampling in her own orchard, she compared blemished specimens to flawless ones from the same tree and found the ugly fruits were 2 to 5 percent sweeter. "I started tossing the really scabby apples, maybe 20 of them, in a blender,” says Greenman. “I did this over and over and over again."

She wanted to know what the internal reaction producing scars was doing to her apples at a chemical level. “What does that fight look like? Does a stressing agent like apple scab bring about super fruits?” wrote Greenman on her website. “It makes sense to me. When stress occurs, the apple’s response is to pump the site of infection/attack full of phenolics.”

[quote position="right" is_quote="true"] I only eat ugly apples, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a worm.[/quote]

It is one of the deep tragedies of our modern food system that imperfect fruits and vegetables never make it off the farm, let alone into a research lab, says chef Brandon Baltzley. The Georgia-born chef worked at several acclaimed American restaurants before apprenticing on a Maine farm, and he is now co-chef at the 41-70 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

"Michelin-starred places want the most perfect, small vegetable that's uniform and looks the same a hundred times over,” says Baltzley. “From a chef’s perspective, as far as aesthetics go, imperfections benefit us more than a perfect carrot. I personally think those fruits and vegetables taste better.”

Getting the most out of imperfect produce is one of his main goals in the kitchen. "We're trying to put in more work, put in more hours, put in more labor, to cut down on other things like food cost and waste. We're really trying to lead by example."

About one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. In the United States and Europe, that equates to between 280 and 300 kilograms of food waste per person, a figure that has caused public outcry.

In reaction, Imperfect Produce has started distributing off-size and “misshapen” produce across California with door-to-door delivery and bulk-buying programs. It’s even partnering with Whole Foods for a pilot program in 2016. Elsewhere in the U.S., Giant Eagle supermarkets are currently testing a Produce with Personality campaign to sell unconventional fruits and vegetables, while Canada’s Loblaw chain is expanding its Naturally Imperfect line, which costs 30 percent less than standard produce, this year.

"I think we've been taught to think that all blemishes and imperfections are bad," says Greenman. "So many people think that apple scab contains a worm. I only eat ugly apples, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a worm." Better taste and less waste sounds like just the right business model to us.

Food
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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Pixabay

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

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Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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