Edible Fruits

Fruits, Edible


Certain cultivated and wild plants yield edible fruits. There are various kinds of edible fruits, including pomes (apple, pear, quince), drupes (apricot, plum, cherry, peach), citruses (orange, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit), subtropical and tropical fruits (fig, mango, pomegranate, pineapple, banana, avocado), berries (currant, gooseberry, grape, cranberry), and melons (muskmelon, watermelon). Fruits are very important in human nutrition; their pleasant taste and biological value are due to the presence of a large quantity of useful substances (see Table 1).

Table 1. Chemical composition of various edible fruits
 Sugars (percent)Acids (percent)Vitamin C (mg percent)
Apples ...............6.5–11.82.5–5.51.0–5.30.2–1.65–30
Pears ...............6.0–9.71.0–3.70.4–2.60.1–0.55–10
Plums ...............1.0–7.01.5–5.21.5–9.20.4–3.515–20
Cherries ...............3.3–4.43.8–5.30–0.81.4–2.210–15
Peaches ...............3.9–4.44.2–6.94.8–10.70.2–1.05–10
Blackcurrants ...............3.3–4.83.3–3.90.2–0.42.5–3.7100–400
Grapes ...............7.2–9.07.2–9.00–1.50.3–2.15–10
Raspberries ...............2.5–3.42.3–3.20–0.21.0–2.010–30
Strawberries ...............1.6–3.81.8–3.10–0.11.3–3.030–100

Fruits are a source of readily assimilated carbohydrates. Pomes are particularly rich in fructose, and drupes in glucose and sucrose. Sucrose is least abundant in berries and most abundant in bananas, pineapples, oranges, and mandarins. Bananas are high in starch. Fruits contain carotene and many vitamins, including ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and vitamin P. Citruses have a vitamin content of 50–90 mg percent. They retain most of their original vitamins during storage; the enzymes that oxidize ascorbic acid are absent in citruses. Strawberries, raspberries, and gooseberries are high in vitamin C. Some fruits appear to be natural vitamin concentrates: for example, the dog rose contains about 1,500 mg percent vitamin C and 5 mg percent carotene; chokeberry, 50 and 8 mg percent, respectively; and the sea buckthorn, 120 and 8 mg percent. The black currant has a vitamin C content reaching 400 mg percent. The caloric content of fruits is low, averaging 50–70 kcal in 100 g (1 kcal = 4.19 kj). The Institute of Nutrition of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR has set the annual standard of fruit consumption at 106 kg per person. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world production of fruits in 1974 was 213,276,000 tons, including 63,069,000 tons of grapes; the corresponding figures in the USSR were 12,441,000 tons and 4,760,000 tons.

The substances found in fruits play an important part in the digestive and metabolic processes. The organic acids are powerful stimulants of pancreatic secretion and intestinal activity. Of the tannic substances, tannin and the catechins have the most marked biological action. Whortleberries, pears, quinces, and cornels are rich in tannin. Many fruits are used as therapeutic agents (for example, raspberries) and in dietetics.

Many kinds of fruits remain tasty and fresh for a long time when properly refrigerated and exposed to a controlled gaseous atmosphere. Apples, pears, citrus, grapes, and bananas can be stored the longest. Fruits can be frozen, vacuum dried, or preserved (jam, compote).


Tserevitinov, F. V. Khimiia i tovarovedenie svezhikh plodov i ovoshchei, 3rd ed, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1949.
Spravochnik tovaroveda prodovol’s tvennykh tovarov, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1968–69.
Shirokov, E. P. Tekhnologiia khraneniia i pererabotki plodov i ovoshchei. Moscow, 1970.


References in classic literature ?
We have been living upon the fat of the land, Ahm, having shown us the edible fruits, tubers and herbs, and twice a week we go out after fresh meat.
However, there were trees, and among them we soon descried edible fruits with which we broke our long fast.
9 million to import edible fruits and nuts during the first half of the ongoing fiscal.
A major increase was in food and agriculture exports, such as animal products, fish and related products, prepared food and edible fruits.
Kenya, on the other hand exported woven apparel, knit apparel, coffee, tea, edible fruits and macadamia nuts, totalling $565 million during the same period.
Top exported agricultural commodities include animals or vegetable oils; edible fruits and nuts; preparation of vegetables, fruits, and nuts; fish and crustaceans; and preparation of meat, fish, and other crustaceans, which comprised almost 80 percent of the total exported products.
Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) A low-spreading evergreen shrub widely planted in the shade, its edible fruits are consumed by birds.
Birds will strip these plants bare by Christmas before they desperately scour borders for other edible fruits.
Typically we eat them for their edible fruits, raw and cooked, with one notable exception, the potato, which is eaten for its tubers.
It is cultivated for its edible fruits, commonly known as biriba or wild sugar apple.
The pomegranate is one of the oldest known edible fruits grown in many subtropical countries, especially in the Mediterranean region and also growing extensively in Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia and in the subtropical areas of South America.