80 thoughts on “Top 5 Fruits (For Eating)

  1. I’m currently eating a “Fruit and Cheese Plate” from Starbucks that includes apple slices, strawberries, and grapes, along with a slice of brie, some sharp cheddar, what seems to be gruyere, and some raisin bread slices.


  2. Good suggestions SG and Sam B!!

    Passion fruit isn’t widely available in the US.

    I would be skeptical of a Starbucks gruyere…

  3. If we’re talking about the most valuable fruit, I think we have to look seriously at staples like oranges, bananas and apples. Not very sexy as fruit goes, but those are the undeniable leaders for a reason. A good crisp Fuji apple is tough to beat, and it certainly does beat passion fruit.

    Huckleberries?!? Where’s watermelon? Strawberries? Pears? TOMATOES, for crying out loud.

  4. Rusty,
    No problem. FWIW, I’ve never had a passion fruit you can eat; way too sour.

    I’d go with SG on heirloom tomatoes. Some variety of nectarines. I’d take a non-passion fruit citrus or two, say kumquats and some kind of tangerine. And round it out with a good grape (not a supermarket grape, although I like those, but try one in a vineyard destined, evenutally, for wine). Of course, you have to have some variety of pear or apple in the U.S., and I’d argue strongly for mango and/or papaya. Or maybe guava.

    But as long as you’re talking about Haas avocados, I’m with you. (I don’t care if they’re the best avocados or not, I have to go with hometown pride.)

  5. Then there’s the fruit wonderful enough to warrant a divine mandate to decorate priestly robes with its likeness: pomegranate. My grandparents grew them in the desert, and around Thanksgiving we would pick several boxloads to take home. Such abundance eludes me now.

  6. Granny Smith apples, from Washington State, are the very best fruit. My mouth waters just thinking about them.

  7. Let’s see:

    For their culinary importance alone, the tomato should not be overlooked.

    Melons count as fruit, right? Watermelon is in a class by itself.

    I think nectarines are better than peaches due to lack of fuzz.

    I like mangos a lot, but I’ve never really enjoyed papaya.

    Persimmons are really good if you can get the right kind (I never remember which it is), and if it’s ripe. Mess that up and you get a bad, bad case of sour mouth.

    I’ve had some mighty good cherries in my day. And pears, too.

  8. D,
    Granny Smiths are for apple pies, not plain eating, they’re too sour to eat straight! If you want a great apple straight from the tree (from Washington naturally) try the Fuji or Yellow Delicious or the Macon.

    John M,
    But do you actually like the pomegranite? I mean, it’s a cool fruit that can be fun to eat but the flavor isn’t necessarily worth writing home (or a blog) about.

    Sam, SG,
    Yes, I forgot tomatoes, which I think fall into the same category as avocados in that I can’t enjoy them straight but like them with tortillas and salt (or bread and cheese in the case of the tomato).

    And yeah, strawberries are good, just not as good as the others.

  9. Just an FYI …

    According to the strict botanical definition, a fruit is the ripened ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant.

    After an online search, I found that the following fruits that are commonly mistaken for vegetables:

    Tomato, Avocado, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Eggplant, Squash, Peppers

    I imagine adding those to the list of potentials could be disruptive … which, of course, is the reason for providing this comment.

  10. The citrus fruits are under-represented in these discussions. Although I think lemons are overrated, limes are probably underrated, so they balance each other out. I love the small tangerine varieties (mandarines), especially clementines and satsumas. The good old naval orange is always good, and I really like grapefruit as well.

    Pineapple, anyone?

  11. Kiwis seem to me like a fad from the 80s that have outstayed their welcome. I’d like plums more, but it seems like I get one ripe one for about every four sour ones I bite into. No thanks.

  12. I think for all-around usefulness, this is the list I’d throw out for now … (this is a challenging question Rusty is giving) …

    1. Olive
    2. Grape
    3. Tomato
    4. Orange
    5. Apple

  13. Olives? Really? (puke)

    I was raised on a farm with 17 apple trees, a pear tree, a plum tree, a grape arbor, and a field of raspberry bushes (that I ran as a u-pick farm over the summer). But before that my grandparents and later my father ran a U-Pick strawberry and blueberry and raspberry farm, and we had a blueberry bush in our yard.

    This may explain why I like my apples and plums and grapes rather sour (mmmm those grapes were sour!). And why strawberries and blueberries are the best fruit ever. Strawberries are best when warmed by the sun with dirt still on them.

  14. Pineapples really depend on where you eat them. They just don’t travel well, so they’re much better in the tropics than in temperate places. The same is true for bananas, oranges, and cantaloupes.

  15. Hehe … I’m not that wild about olives myself … though I don’t mind the black ones out of a can or whatever.

    I’m just thinking of the olive as a source of oil that had all kinds of ancient and modern uses.

    Some other odd fruits I’ve come across: etrog, jocote … there’s another Guatemala fruit I’m forgetting the name of … I always forget this fruit. I’ll try to find it online.

  16. Okay, found it … the mamey sapote.

    I really liked this fruit but only had it once or twice while in Guatemala. I’d love to be able to get it here in the U.S. So far I haven’t seen it. Maybe I haven’t looked enough or in the right places.

  17. Bottom 5 fruits:
    1. Durian

    Jocote (the cashew apple) either ties or beats the durian for worst fruit ever.

  18. Rusty, I learned to like jocotes – but only if they were ripe. One thing that always surprised me about Guatemalans – they seem to like a lot of unripe green fruits that hadn’t become sweet yet.

  19. Susan, I’m with you on just about everything- sour is better, and nothing beats a sunripe strawberry, unless such berry is proferred by the grubby hand of the two-year old that picked it.

  20. Rusty,

    Is it some sort of joke that you say Granny Smiths are too sour to eat straight after putting Passion Fruit as #1?

    I ate a whole passion fruit straight once – as a dare from a companion who said I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it again, but I did enjoy it drowned in sugar.

    Perhaps it’s an unconscious exotic fruit bias, but I would also but mango in the top five.

  21. Eric,
    Passion fruits are supposed to be enjoyed sour, apples aren’t.

    Ever had a wild strawberry, the tiny version of the domesticized strawberry you know and love? Wild strawberries are incredible and could probably move to my top 3.

  22. Rustman,

    1. You are right about jocotes. Blah.

    2. You are on crack. Papayas are tasty. Not manna, but tasty.

    3. Your list is missing pluots. They’re in season right about now, come in a bunch of varieties, and totally rock. Get them as fresh as possible. They don’t travel well. You can get them at roadside fruit stands in SoCal. The best pluots I ever ate came from a stand in the rural area outside Ventura.

  23. #29 is right. living in hawai’i ruined me and mainland pineapples are junk. just the short hop from the maui pineapple fields to the nearby moloka’i ruins the pineapple, so nothing grown here is decent. that said:

    1. red grapes
    2. rambutan
    3. pineapple
    4. red delicious apples
    5. kiwi

  24. Rusty, you’re way off here, but I’m more interested in what you had in mind when you added the “for eating” qualifier. What’s up with that?

    Perhaps you were worried this would devolve into a post about the best fruits for throwing (gotta be apples), or to watch splatter (tomatoes), or to “hurry things along” (prunes), or for medicinal purposes (cranberrys?), or for use in sex ed class (bananas). Maybe something else?

  25. The pears that come from Harry & David have got to be the most heavenly fruit I’ve ever had. (And I grew up in Florida.)

    Unchecked, I could probably eat a hundred cherries at one sitting, especially those plump red ones (or even the Rainer cherries.)

    Re: Pomegranate – I was at the store today and saw at least a dozen newish drinks that are boasting this flavor now. Sobe was the first I remember having it, several years back, but now it’s so popular, I’m waiting for it to appear as an add-in for Sonic!

  26. Rusty- Yup. Went to Greenbluff last week, and that’s all we picked- those tiny little strawberries (the biggest being no bigger than a grape)And they are SWEET.

    Totally ruined me for any big, gross, styrofoam-y commercial berries.

  27. The malaysians love the Durian. I’ve never eaten one but have had several Durian-flavored frozen fruit bars in Chinatown. Not terrible, but not so great. A little better than the Red bean flavor.

    No one mentioned the lychee (also spelled litchi). I just ate a big bag full of those the other day. A fruit I very much enjoy, but indulge in rarely, since I think I would tire of it.

  28. I’m not planting Nashi so far. I am going to put a flowering Yoshino Sakura (Cherry) tree in though so Japan will be represented.

    There’s a blackberry strain that grows very well here in the South and the fruit that comes from those bushes is HUGE. That strain is thornless and climbs, so I’m toying with the idea of training them on a trellis with a bottom planter box alternating with strawberries (The Fort Laramie strain of strawberry will climb) on the same trellis and adding blueberry bushes in front planted in the ground.

    Can one even buy nashi trees in the US? I wonder….

  29. makakona wrote:

    “4. red delicious apples”

    Woah, there. I’ve got to dissent in the strongest possible terms, I’m afraid. “Red delicious apples” is one of the most malicious half-truths in the history of produce. They taste terrible. I don’t think there’s a worse tasting variety of apple.

    I’m sorry, but it had to be said.

  30. Most new Asian pear plantings in California are in Fresno, Tulare and Kern Counties. Older plantings are found in Placer and Sacramento Counties and limited new plantings are being made in the Sacramento Valley. A few plantings exist in Yakima and Wenatchee, Washington, and others are found in Hood River and Willamette Valley in Oregon. In the last few years plantings of Asian pears were made in New Zealand, Australia, Chile, France, and the eastern and southeastern United States.

    It is roughly estimated that 4,000-5,000 acres of Asian pears are planted in California, Oregon and Washington. Most trees are just beginning production since most recent plantings started in 1981. Since 1984 about 100,000 trees (500 acres) of Asian pears have been planted every year in California.

    Read the whole report.

  31. Greg,
    I totally agree with you about the red delicious. They’re not jocote-bad, but they’re one of the least delicious of the apples. Yellow/golden-delicious on the other hand are terrific.

  32. Rusty, yes, I really do like pomegranates. I like opening them and eating them plain, the only way I get to enjoy them these days. I liked juicing them and mixing varieties to get the best combination of tart and sweet. I liked pomegranate jelly made by my grandmother or wife. I liked having a bowl of seeds mixed with whipped cream.

    The growth of the pomegranate industry that FHL mentioned (#46) has been interesting. Thirty years ago, there were only 2,500 acres of pomegranates planted commercially in California. Now there are 14,000 acres. This was due to one grower, Paramount Farming, deciding a dozen years ago that they could create radically multiply the market for pomegranates, so they planted 6,000 acres. For me, it has been an odd development to watch.

  33. Danithew (30),
    Blasphemy! Get thee over to the UWS, specifically, Fairway (74th and B’way), and, right by the cheese department, you’ll find an amazing array of olives. The black things out of the can don’t deserve to be called olives.

    But I agree that olives, were sorely overlooked on the list, as probably the most important (and one of the most delicious) fruits ever.

  34. I’m not a big fan of Golden Delicious, or any apple with a red skin that has been dyed.

    I like Granny Smiths, originally developed in Australia. That hard, crisp taste is just right, particularly when the apple is cold.

  35. My husband ONLY liked red delicious apples until he started tasting the other kinds I bought, when he realized he had only been tasting the Socratic shadow of a true apple all those years.

    On a slightly different note, I’ll brag about one of the nicer things I’ve done in my life. When a dear friend of mine had a miscarriage, I made up a basket of exotic fruits for her. It was fun to choose things I wouldn’t normally buy, and it was all very symbolic.

  36. D,
    I don’t know what you’re talking about re golden delicious being dyed. I grew up with two golden/yellow delicious trees in my back yard and we didn’t do any dying. They’re simple, yellow apples.

  37. Anyone ever try a “grapple?” Those things are a bust. I saw them in stores a year or two ago, and basically, they are just apples injected with what tastes like Grape Kool Aid flavoring. Pretty sad, really.

  38. maybe i’ll have to venture out again, not having had anything but red delicious and granny smith for a few years, but i’ve never liked anything BUT red delicious. i can’t stand granny smiths unless they’re in a pie with loads of sugar.

    we’re moving into a house that has a tree chock full of poms. that should be fun with a bunch of little kids! there are also loads of grapes that were brought over from lebanon years ago.

  39. makakona,

    Here are some suggestions for other red apples that are better than the misnamed “delicious”:

    Pink Ladies

    I’m also one of those people who can’t really eat a granny smith apple raw. They are great in pies, though.

  40. hmm, we have fujis here and i’m not digging them. i think texture is key for me. what’s a really firm apple that doesn’t have that grainy feel?

  41. Gaias are pretty good. Makakona, the problem is climate. In Hawaii you get great pineapple but lousy apples. Consider it a tradeoff!

  42. Makakona, they don’t grow in L.A. For apples in CA I think you’d have to go up at least as far as Sacramento.

  43. The trick in Hawaii is to eat New Zealand apples, which are generally available and quite a bit tastier than most of the mainland-grown apples (predominantly red delicious) in stores.

  44. 1. Tomatoes (garden, not grocery store)
    2. Blueberries
    3. Strawberries (little wild ones are great, but I’ll eat any I can get my hands on)
    4. Nectarines/peaches
    5. Watermelon

    Runners up: avocados, limes, tangerines. Pink Lady apples are among my favorites for eating fresh. Little sour green translucents, an heirloom variety now found mainly in old ladies’ backyards, are amazing for pies.

  45. Sorry, I didn’t mean Golden Delicious were dyed. It’s red apples that are often dyed and waxed to look more good and red.

    Most really tasty apples don’t have that perfect color.

  46. Makakona,
    If you’re willing to venture down to San Diego County, Julian (in the mountains of the North County of San Diego) is well-known for their apple pies, and apparently sells eating apples, too (see here). Of course, it’s like an hour away from Poway in the mountains, but that still puts it closer to you than Sacramento.

  47. Persimmons are really good if you can get the right kind (I never remember which it is), and if it’s ripe. Mess that up and you get a bad, bad case of sour mouth.

    One of my favorite jokes ever is about sour persimmons…sort of.

    Papaya tastes like what poo smells like.

    Some of my coworkers were asking what fresh papaya tasted like. I informed them it is a very bland cantaloupe with an overpowering aftertaste of vomit.

    It seems FHL and I share good taste in fruit.

    1. A great pear (from Harry & David can’t be beat)
    2. rainier cherries in season
    3. Avocado (and so good for you)
    4. Gala apple (small, but perfectly crispy)

    and the heretofore unmentioned King of Melons…
    5. Crenshaw melon

    Seriously, the size of a watermelon (but with yellow skin), better than a cantaloupe, squeeze one lime over one large melon cut into chunks, and you will be in heaven.

  48. Assuming you have access to the good stuff.

    1. Passion Fruit. Note that Target has a passion fruit drink from Italy that is actually pretty good. Not as good as you can make yourself if you have the fruit, but still better than most.
    2. Mango (specifically manga espada, or manga coracao de boi if you’re hungry)
    3. Strawberries
    4. Cherries
    5. Peaches

    I am excluding tomatoes and avocado because I generally eat them as if they were vegetables, or at least with salty things. I do love an avocado shake, but that freaks americans out.

  49. As for the sour passion fruit debate, it depends on the variety. Most passion fruits are sour and require a good deal of sugar to eat. I have however had very sweet passion fruit a few times. My mission prez (we’re admitting that most people here know what that means, right?) handed me an unopened passion fruit one day and said, “Try this.” I asked where the sugar was and he told me I didn’t need any. I cut it open and ate it with a spoon. He was right, it wasn’t sour. Best thing I’ve ever eaten.

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