Fruits and Vegetables

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BUYING GOOD FRUITS AND VEGETABLES


Copyright 1997 by Janice D. Green

Are there ways of recognizing well pollinated fruits and vegetables in the produce stand or grocery store? The answer is yes. Watermelons are a good example. If a watermelon is large and very round on the ends, it should be well pollinated. When the watermelon is cut, the seeds tell the story. The black seeds are pollinated, the white seeds are not. The more pollinated seeds, the sweeter the watermelon will be. It takes pollinated seeds to produce the hormones that cause the watermelon to ripen.

Well pollinated apples should be large and even on all sides. If it is smaller on one side than another it is probably poorly pollinated. A fully pollinated apple will have ten fully developed seeds in it. An apple that only gets one or two pollinated seeds will surely fall off the tree while it is still very small. If it gets three or four seeds polinated it will make an apple, but it will be smaller than it should, uneven, and poor in taste. An apple with five or six seeds will be edible, but not as good as one with seven to ten seeds pollinated.

Cucumbers and summer squash need to be pollinated to produce good vegetables. It is easy to tell if a cucumber is well pollinated by observing its shape. If it is straight, even, well rounded and of a good size it was well pollinated. It will last longer and have a good taste and texture. A lopsided, curled cucumber will spoil easily and be tough. Good summer squash will be evenly filled out while poorly pollinated squash will appear ridged and groved where it has not filled out completely. Like the squash, it will not keep well and may be tough and dry as the farmer is likely to have left it on the vine longer to become large enough to pick.

With other fruits and vegetables, it is harder to detect if they are poorly pollinated until you tase them. Many just won't be there unless they are properly pollinated. Others such as cantaloupes will be small if poorly pollinated, but unless you are very knowledgeable about cantaloupes you won't know how large the particular variety is supposed to be. The best way to get a good cantaloupe is to compare the weight of the cantaloupes and select the heaviest. The natural sugar in the cantaloupe will cause a well pollinated melon to be heavier than a poorly pollinated one.

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