View Poll Results: Do you wash raspberries before eating ?
Always. 46 41.44%
Sometimes. 29 26.13%
Never. 36 32.43%
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#1
Old 01-03-2017, 03:14 AM
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Do you wash raspberries before eating ?

Yesterday evening, I opened a pack of store-bought raspberries and started eating them right away. A couple of minutes later, my wife came in and asked me whether I had washed them. When I told her I hadn't, she rolled her eyes and said I definitely should have.

I see her point but raspberries are so delicate, they soak up water and become soggy so fast that I don't think it's a good idea to wash them. Besides, I'm not sure that rinsing berries achieves much anyway. Most of whatever on them probably doesn't go away with a bit of water. I do wash strawberries very lightly but raspberries ? They are even more fragile, so no.
#2
Old 01-03-2017, 03:17 AM
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I don't wash raspberries (or blackberries) - it ruins them.

If they're dirty enough to need washing, they're too dirty to eat anyway. If the concern is pesticide residues, then a light rinse is going to do hardly anything to remove it.
#3
Old 01-03-2017, 03:26 AM
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Furthermore (and these points are going to sound silly to some, but they're really important to me):

The first thing you experience when eating a really fresh raspberry, straight off the cane is the delicate slightly-downy-flocked exterior, which is then overwhelmed by a burst of tart, fruity juiciness - washing them destroys this - and it doesn't completely come back even if the fruit is allowed to dry after washing.

The aroma of blackberries is partly on the outside of the skins. Pick a cupful of blackberries and smell them - the aroma is amazing. Wash them - they smell of nothing and whilst they are still tasty, they are no longer nearly so aromatic. Again, even allowing them to dry does not restore them to their prewashed state.
#4
Old 01-03-2017, 03:41 AM
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If they're store-bought, no I wouldn't wash them.

Wild-picked blackberries..... I think I 'd want to double-check that they were picked from above waist (or at least dog-waist) height.
#5
Old 01-03-2017, 03:44 AM
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Nope. But I don't wash anything before eating it.
#6
Old 01-03-2017, 03:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickLondon View Post
If they're store-bought, no I wouldn't wash them.

Wild-picked blackberries..... I think I 'd want to double-check that they were picked from above waist (or at least dog-waist) height.
That's fair enough - I have quite a developed technique for picking blackberries - above/beyond dog-pee height is standard. I also examine the stalk scar of each fruit before I drop it in the container - if it's pale green, the fruit is usually good. If it's brown or darkish (i.e. juice stained), it's often a sign of insect larvae inside. I discard these fruits for the mice and birds to eat.
Also, if the drupelets are uneven in size, it's another potential indicator of insect larvae.

I don't object to consuming invertebrates on principle, but raspberry beetle maggots are not aesthetically appealing to me.
#7
Old 01-03-2017, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Furthermore (and these points are going to sound silly to some, but they're really important to me):

The first thing you experience when eating a really fresh raspberry, straight off the cane is the delicate slightly-downy-flocked exterior, which is then overwhelmed by a burst of tart, fruity juiciness - washing them destroys this - and it doesn't completely come back even if the fruit is allowed to dry after washing.

The aroma of blackberries is partly on the outside of the skins. Pick a cupful of blackberries and smell them - the aroma is amazing. Wash them - they smell of nothing and whilst they are still tasty, they are no longer nearly so aromatic. Again, even allowing them to dry does not restore them to their prewashed state.
I've heard people say that for the same reason you shouldn't wash strawberries, either--or even refrigerate them.
#8
Old 01-03-2017, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by guizot View Post
I've heard people say that for the same reason you shouldn't wash strawberries, either--or even refrigerate them.
The best strawberries I have eaten are always the ones I get from unrefrigerated sale at street markets, from local growers - they have to be used the same day - not that this is ever a problem.

I only wash strawberries if they have grit or soil on them (unfortunately more often the case than with other soft fruits, as strawberries grow on the ground).

Tomatoes are the same - the flavour and aroma is best at room temperature, and with unwashed fruit.
#9
Old 01-03-2017, 06:21 AM
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My wife is originally from China, and to her eating any unwashed fruit or vegetables is tantamount to dunking your head in a pool of raw sewage and pesticides. So if she's around, everything gets washed.

If I'm eating berries off of a bush, I take my chances.
#10
Old 01-03-2017, 07:05 AM
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I rinse the ones I'm about to eat right before, but not the whole pint I purchased. It ruins them to get them wet more than a few minutes ahead of eating, but they can last up to 3 days in the fridge if left alone (also check for and remove any that look like they've got spots of mold before it spreads).
#11
Old 01-03-2017, 07:22 AM
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Washing fruits or vegetables is pointless unless it has visible dirt on it, like a potato or mushrooms. Pretending that running water will remove germs or pesticide is self delusion at best.
#12
Old 01-03-2017, 07:32 AM
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I don't eat fruits or berries very often, but have always rinsed them (including apples, pears and grapes) before eating them. Why wouldn't rinsing with water clean them of at least some dirt and pesticides?
#13
Old 01-03-2017, 07:34 AM
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No, but like others I never watch any fruits and vegetables unless I can see something on it I want removed.
#14
Old 01-03-2017, 07:49 AM
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Never, but they are either from our own plants or a local family farm.
#15
Old 01-03-2017, 08:50 AM
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I generally rinse off all produce whether it comes from my garden or not and regardless of the possibility that health risk may not be affected by such preparation (if I can slightly decrease the bacterial/pesticide load, good enough).

If you don't actually squash the produce with a forceful jet of water, I fail to see what harm rinsing does. Supermarket produce has probably already undergone some sort of washing procedure.

And not to dispute the gustatory advice of the esteemed Mangetout, but I am unconvinced that tomato flavor and aroma are harmed by washing them.

*I wash my prolific black raspberry crop before using/freezing them. I also frequently eat them off the vine. I can't tell any taste/texture difference between washed and unwashed fresh fruit.
#16
Old 01-03-2017, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Jackknifed Juggernaut View Post
I don't eat fruits or berries very often, but have always rinsed them (including apples, pears and grapes) before eating them. Why wouldn't rinsing with water clean them of at least some dirt and pesticides?
Pesticides are generally designed to be somewhat water-resistant, or they would wash off the first time it rains.

They're also typically applied weeks or months (depending on crop) before harvest time, so they will have naturally subsided by the time of picking.

If there's perceptible dirt on fruits and vegetables, then there's something to wash off. In the case of root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, etc), if they're caked with mud, they'll need a scrub, but they can stand it.
In most other cases, if it looks clean, it's as clean as it's going to get - rinsing with water will have minimal effect on germs, and in some cases (raspberries in particular), there's no kind of washing that is both a)useful and b)that the fruit will survive.
#17
Old 01-03-2017, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Furthermore (and these points are going to sound silly to some, but they're really important to me):

The first thing you experience when eating a really fresh raspberry, straight off the cane is the delicate slightly-downy-flocked exterior, which is then overwhelmed by a burst of tart, fruity juiciness - washing them destroys this - and it doesn't completely come back even if the fruit is allowed to dry after washing.
True, and not silly at all.
#18
Old 01-03-2017, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
I don't object to consuming invertebrates on principle, but raspberry beetle maggots are not aesthetically appealing to me.
Not your kind of grub?
#19
Old 01-03-2017, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
If you don't actually squash the produce with a forceful jet of water, I fail to see what harm rinsing does. Supermarket produce has probably already undergone some sort of washing procedure.
Not usually with raspberries - they're often picked directly into the retail packs in the field.

Quote:
And not to dispute the gustatory advice of the esteemed Mangetout, but I am unconvinced that tomato flavor and aroma are harmed by washing them.
<Shrug> if you grow tomatoes, try comparing the smell of one straight from the vine vs another that you have washed. There's a layer of aromatic resin on the outside of the skin, exuded by the leaves of the plant. It's one of the key things that makes tomatoes taste more 'tomatoey' when they are eaten straight off the plant.
Another way you can test this - smell your hands after picking tomatoes. There is flavour on the outside of the fruit, and you'll get it all over your hands when you pick them.

Quote:
*I wash my prolific black raspberry crop before using/freezing them. I also frequently eat them off the vine. I can't tell any taste/texture difference between washed and unwashed fresh fruit.
Not sure about black raspberries - but with wild blackberries, there is a perfume to the unwashed, fresh-picked fruit that disappears when they are washed and does not return when they are dry. It's also lost when they are cooked or juiced, so it's sort of academic unless you are eating them whole and fresh.

Last edited by Mangetout; 01-03-2017 at 09:12 AM.
#20
Old 01-03-2017, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
Not your kind of grub?
The funny thing is, the maggots have got just enough 'go' in them to crawl right out of the fruit as it is cooked (or steeped in alcohol to make liqueur) - so you end up with blackberry-and-maggot pie.

Last edited by Mangetout; 01-03-2017 at 09:13 AM.
#21
Old 01-03-2017, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
True, and not silly at all.
Thanks for confirming that my madness maybe isn't so mad after all. For me, 'mouthfeel' (not a word I like very much but there it is), and variety, contrast or change of texture, flavour, temperature etc is one of the most joyful parts of eating - getting unmixed hot-and-cold, or bitter-and-sweet, or tart-and-creamy (or in the case of raspberries, downy-then-juicy) in the same spoonful, then feeling and tasting the two contrasting things blend and mingle in my mouth, is just lovely.
#22
Old 01-03-2017, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Furthermore (and these points are going to sound silly to some, but they're really important to me):

The first thing you experience when eating a really fresh raspberry, straight off the cane is the delicate slightly-downy-flocked exterior, which is then overwhelmed by a burst of tart, fruity juiciness - washing them destroys this - and it doesn't completely come back even if the fruit is allowed to dry after washing.

The aroma of blackberries is partly on the outside of the skins. Pick a cupful of blackberries and smell them - the aroma is amazing. Wash them - they smell of nothing and whilst they are still tasty, they are no longer nearly so aromatic. Again, even allowing them to dry does not restore them to their prewashed state.
I'm no connoisseur but I don't consider what you describe silly. Raspberries are delicious and have a very distinctive feel and flavour, which water partly destroys.

As far as strawberries are concerned, the best I've ever eaten were half a dozen I hand-picked at random in a wood somewhere in Sweden. Their taste was absolutely stunning... and I didn't wash them either.
#23
Old 01-03-2017, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
Nope. But I don't wash anything before eating it.
This, mostly. People in my life are periodically appalled and bring up pesticides and workers who don't wash their hands and insects with bad oral hygiene and so on.

I wash things that were pulled out of the ground and have dirt clinging to them, or are the kind of vegetation that grows in sandy soil and has half a sandbox rattling around inside the leaves, but mostly I eat stuff with the same caution that cows and bunny rabbits use when they eat such things.
#24
Old 01-03-2017, 11:29 AM
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We largely wash our fruit due to the periodic episodes of bacteria/listeria contamination that make the news. This seems less important now that the children are older and I am no longer pregnant. Perhaps we will start skipping this step.
#25
Old 01-03-2017, 12:04 PM
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I wash raspberries by putting them in a fine mesh strainer, running it under gently running water, shaking gently, then turning out on a paper towel or dishtowel to dry off some (I do this with small pasta shells, too). Then I eat, or use them. I can't eat anything I bring home that is unwashed, people handle apples and tomatoes at the market with their germy hands. Even if the germs or pesticides don't wash off, I will still wash. Same with washing my hands before eating a sandwich, I can almost 'feel' the germs going down the drain.
#26
Old 01-03-2017, 12:47 PM
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I unfortunately do most of my produce shopping at the local mega-mart, where I unfortunately buy mass grown mega agriculture produce. I rinse everything. For hard skin fruits, like lemons, oranges, melons, even tomatoes, I use a drop of dish soap when I wash them.

If I'm ever lucky enough to get something out of my garden, I rinse to remove any dirt or bugs.
#27
Old 01-03-2017, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
<Shrug> if you grow tomatoes, try comparing the smell of one straight from the vine vs another that you have washed. There's a layer of aromatic resin on the outside of the skin, exuded by the leaves of the plant. It's one of the key things that makes tomatoes taste more 'tomatoey' when they are eaten straight off the plant.
Another way you can test this - smell your hands after picking tomatoes. There is flavour on the outside of the fruit, and you'll get it all over your hands when you pick them.


Not sure about black raspberries - but with wild blackberries, there is a perfume to the unwashed, fresh-picked fruit that disappears when they are washed and does not return when they are dry. It's also lost when they are cooked or juiced, so it's sort of academic unless you are eating them whole and fresh.
So....wait. What happens if they're rained on or someone waters the plants?
#28
Old 01-03-2017, 03:12 PM
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Raspberries are generally either homegrown or foraged, and don't get washed.

As a kid I used to drop 'em in boiling water 'cos it kills the raspberry beetle larvae, which then drop out of the fruit, but in recent years I would rather eat slightly fewer berries rather than eat the half a fruit that a bug hadn't quite got round to yet.
#29
Old 01-03-2017, 03:30 PM
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We water our raspberries with lake water, so yes, I prefer to wash them. Fish poop is great fertilizer, but I don't want to eat any more of it than I have to. I'll swish them around in a bowl of water - some detritus floats to the top, others sink to the bottom. Then I'll give them a spin in a salad spinner lined with paper towels. (This is the method recommended by Cooks Illustrated for delicate fruits.)

I don't see how a quick rinse with water is any worse than them getting rained on. I think the bigger problem is the berries squashing each other in the bucket as they're being picked - that seems to do more damage than washing. And a sun-warmed fruit is always going to taste better.

Gods do I miss warm weather.

What's the latest actual data on pesticide residues and washing produce? I'm seeing a lot of conjecture in this thread and no actual cites.
#30
Old 01-03-2017, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
The funny thing is, the maggots have got just enough 'go' in them to crawl right out of the fruit as it is cooked (or steeped in alcohol to make liqueur) - so you end up with blackberry-and-maggot pie.
It may sound unappetizing, but maggot pie from a hot oven is probably quite safe to eat. Just don't look at your food too closely, which is wise advice always.

Last edited by Musicat; 01-03-2017 at 03:36 PM.
#31
Old 01-03-2017, 03:38 PM
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The ones I got from my old back yard, never. Straight off the plant.

Store bought or don't know where they came from? Always.
#32
Old 01-03-2017, 06:20 PM
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My garden: Only if they've been sprayed or leaf-fed recently, or they're dirty.

Anywhere else: Wash everything. I've seen too many people probing their orifices and then handling produce.
#33
Old 01-03-2017, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Pesticides are generally designed to be somewhat water-resistant, or they would wash off the first time it rains.

They're also typically applied weeks or months (depending on crop) before harvest time, so they will have naturally subsided by the time of picking.

If there's perceptible dirt on fruits and vegetables, then there's something to wash off. In the case of root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, etc), if they're caked with mud, they'll need a scrub, but they can stand it.
In most other cases, if it looks clean, it's as clean as it's going to get - rinsing with water will have minimal effect on germs, and in some cases (raspberries in particular), there's no kind of washing that is both a)useful and b)that the fruit will survive.
This is my take as well. I also second your thoughts about the special and wonderful texture of raspberry fuzz.

People who think like salinqmind and others above are welcome to their fixations. There are certainly found in great numbers across our fair land.
#34
Old 01-03-2017, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
If it's brown or darkish (i.e. juice stained), it's often a sign of insect larvae inside. I discard these fruits for the mice and birds to eat.
The mice and birds have plenty of berries to eat besides your rotten insect-larvae berries. What else are you feeding the mice?
#35
Old 01-03-2017, 10:43 PM
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It's January. Where did these raspberries come from?

And, FTR, I give produce at least a light rinse unless the package says it's already been rinsed.
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#36
Old 01-03-2017, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickLondon View Post
If they're store-bought, no I wouldn't wash them.

Wild-picked blackberries..... I think I 'd want to double-check that they were picked from above waist (or at least dog-waist) height.
I picked some wild blackberries and ate a few and brought some home to eat . When I opened the bag there tiny ants all over the bag ! I threw the berries out and no longer eat wild berries until I wash them first . I wash store brought raspberries, I rise them off very lightly and don't wash them all at once .
#37
Old 01-04-2017, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Channing Idaho Banks View Post
The mice and birds have plenty of berries to eat besides your rotten insect-larvae berries. What else are you feeding the mice?
I don't understand the question.

Of course the mice have access to berries growing at ground level, and also to any berry that naturally falls off the bush. 'I'll let the mice have that one' is just mental shorthand for 'I don't want that one'.
#38
Old 01-04-2017, 02:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
... if it looks clean, it's as clean as it's going to get - rinsing with water will have minimal effect on germs....

....The aroma of blackberries is partly on the outside of the skins. Pick a cupful of blackberries and smell them - the aroma is amazing. Wash them - they smell of nothing and whilst they are still tasty, they are no longer nearly so aromatic....

...There's a layer of aromatic resin on the outside of the skin, exuded by the leaves of the plant. It's one of the key things that makes tomatoes taste more 'tomatoey' when they are eaten straight off the plant....
Not to be argumentative, but it doesn't make sense to say that germs won't wash off, but the resins providing aromas will wash off.

I think a more logical justification for not washing would be to say that any random germs are unlikely to hurt a person.
#39
Old 01-04-2017, 02:50 AM
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Raspberries and blackberries have maggots in them? Ah man.
#40
Old 01-04-2017, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
Not to be argumentative, but it doesn't make sense to say that germs won't wash off, but the resins providing aromas will wash off.
Well, you're comparing two different statements, one about raspberries/blackberries and the other about tomatoes. A contradiction is not surprising.

Tomatoes can be washed quite thoroughly without physically destroying them - so you can probably significantly reduce the bacterial dose on a tomato (assuming there are bad things on there to wash off), but this washing will remove the aromas (which are from resins exuded by the leaves) from the outside of the skin.

Raspberries can't be washed beyond gentle rinsing (and even that spoils them) - this rinsing does dimimish the aroma, which, in the case of raspberries and blackberries, I think must be more delicate a compound than a resin - it's either removed or suppressed by washing.

Last edited by Mangetout; 01-04-2017 at 02:53 AM.
#41
Old 01-04-2017, 08:19 AM
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This thread reminds me of a recent article in the Wall St. Journal in which oysters from varying parts of the country were described as each having their own subtle nuances and bouquet. My favorite was the Hama Hama from Washington state,
described as "Clean, crisp, herbaceous. In the spring, Hama Hama tend to be sweeter; in the winter, brinier. In both seasons, the oysters have a light cucumber/melon finish.

No doubt you'd wreck that cucumber/melon finish if you did something dastardly like rinse them to get the sand/grit out.

I remain skeptical that many of these nuances (in oysters, fruits/vegetables or what have you) are reproducibly detectable.
#42
Old 01-04-2017, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
This thread reminds me of a recent article in the Wall St. Journal in which oysters from varying parts of the country were described as each having their own subtle nuances and bouquet. My favorite was the Hama Hama from Washington state,
described as "Clean, crisp, herbaceous. “In the spring, Hama Hama tend to be sweeter; in the winter, brinier. In both seasons, the oysters have a light cucumber/melon finish.”

No doubt you'd wreck that cucumber/melon finish if you did something dastardly like rinse them to get the sand/grit out.

I remain skeptical that many of these nuances (in oysters, fruits/vegetables or what have you) are reproducibly detectable.
I could believe that oysters aren't the same everywhere - they are filter feeders - their flavour is going to be influenced by the composition of the available food - and I guess that could easily vary from one region to another, as well as the mineral composition of the water, temperature conditions and other details of the actual environment (e.g. grown in an estuary vs a bay)

Whether those differences are consistent across a span of time is a little more debateable, as is the capacity of the human palate to objectively identify the differences.

I'm not a connoisseur of oysters though, (tried them - don't hate them, but they don't taste like food) so I can't speak with any conviction on this matter. Blackberries on the other hand, I have some experience of - water diminishes their aroma - even ripe fruits gathered dry after a brief rain shower are inferior (they're OK - I'll still pick them for the freezer, but when I stick my face in the box on the way back home, the perfume is missing or greatly diminished).

Last edited by Mangetout; 01-04-2017 at 09:42 AM.
#43
Old 01-04-2017, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by octopus View Post
Raspberries and blackberries have maggots in them? Ah man.
Anything can have maggots in it. You're going to eat some insects before you die - it's unavoidable.
#44
Old 01-04-2017, 09:52 AM
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I don't wash anything before eating. I am training my immune system to tolerate common pathogens.

Most chemicals have been applied before the berries form, to keep pests from damaging the plant in the early stages of growth..

Last edited by jtur88; 01-04-2017 at 09:57 AM.
#45
Old 01-04-2017, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Well, you're comparing two different statements, one about raspberries/blackberries and the other about tomatoes. A contradiction is not surprising.

Tomatoes can be washed quite thoroughly without physically destroying them - so you can probably significantly reduce the bacterial dose on a tomato (assuming there are bad things on there to wash off), but this washing will remove the aromas (which are from resins exuded by the leaves) from the outside of the skin.

Raspberries can't be washed beyond gentle rinsing (and even that spoils them) - this rinsing does dimimish the aroma, which, in the case of raspberries and blackberries, I think must be more delicate a compound than a resin - it's either removed or suppressed by washing.
Okay, makes sense - berries can only endure a gentle washing, whereas tomatoes can be handled with less care.

I agree that the experience of a just-picked tomato is sublime. There is a distinctive smell and taste that is never duplicated by any tomato that has been handled/washed/stored.
#46
Old 01-04-2017, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
I agree that the experience of a just-picked tomato is sublime. There is a distinctive smell and taste that is never duplicated by any tomato that has been handled/washed/stored.
It is the leaves - I think Jamie Oliver has recommended adding a sprig of tomato leaves to cooked tomato sauces (pulling them out as soon as they have wilted), but I am not sure that's a good idea - I think the leaves contain toxins as well as the distinctive aroma resins. The Solanaceae family isn't sure whether it wants to feed us, or kill us.

Quote:
Okay, makes sense - berries can only endure a gentle washing, whereas tomatoes can be handled with less care.
In particular, varieties grown for supermarkets are selected for their durability through machines to wash, sort and pack them, often at the expense of flavor.

Last edited by Mangetout; 01-04-2017 at 10:20 AM.
#47
Old 01-04-2017, 11:30 AM
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A light rinse, definitely. Every bit of produce gets at least that in our house.
#48
Old 01-04-2017, 01:29 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3,768
Quote:
Originally Posted by octopus View Post
Raspberries and blackberries have maggots in them? Ah man.
In the UK, raspberry beetle larvae (which look pretty maggoty) are very common in summer picked raspberries and blackberries. Less so autumn fruiting ones, due to lifecycles.

Dunno if something similar is common in other places, but they are a bit of a pain here. They're not poisonous or anything, I'm sure I've eaten plenty when carelessly picking, and I've never noticed a flavour from them even. They certainly are unappetising though.
#49
Old 01-04-2017, 01:44 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Rockville, MD
Posts: 2,769
I've had the little bright-green guys come wriggling out from the hollow interior of a raspberry in a store-bought pint a few times while rinsing. I put them outside, where bugs belong.
#50
Old 01-04-2017, 06:58 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,403
Oh HELLS yes (links to several reports of food poisoning outbreaks linked to raspberries).

Unless you know everything about how they were grown and what may have been used on the plants, it's really risky to not at least give them a light rinse.

Are they as lovely as a fresh-off-the-bush berry? Probably not. Are they still pretty darn yummy? Absolutely. It's the same tradeoff you have to make with any food you didn't grow yourself.
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