Perceptions vs. Reality

Every year I put off eating pears because I think I don’t like them. And every year I finally eat one and remember that, wow, pears are such a phenomenal fruit! Does anyone else go through this with any fruits?

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Apples may be the closest for me. I grew up eating store bought apples, so I’ve never been a huge apple fan. But biting into that first homegrown apple of the season is an incredible experience. My Pristines this year were amazing.

As for pears, I’ve always loved them. Especially when you get one that is at peak ripeness - soft and juicy but not yet grainy. I’m still waiting for my Euro pears to produce (and will probably be waiting for a while still), but even the store bought ones are very good to me.

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Sort of with persimmons, except after once again trying them, still do not like them, so I’m done with that fruit. I tried again this year. I let them get super ripe, and well yuk! I just do not like them at all.

When I buy pears my kids always ask me why I don’t grow them. I just have no more room for them, but I’m always thinking of a way.

I do now regret not planting them because they are nice to eat.

SMC, I don’t but my husband does. He had a thing about nasty tasting pears when he was away at school. Many have memories of ‘canned pears’ that were very grainy and almost metallic tasting. Who could forget that taste? But I’ve introduced him to fresh pears and it is as if the old ‘canned pears’ never existed. Yep such a thing exists!

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For me, it’s figs. I used to only eat dry figs which I like. My first experience with fresh figs was store-bought. It had unripe/ greenish after taste to it.

That taste made me swore off fresh figs for several years. After reading many fig threads, I bought my first fig tree, a Chicago Hardy, 2-3 yrs ago.

This year, fresh CH figs from my tree has changed my mind. I like fresh figs now, the ones fully ripened from my trees.

Almost everyone I’ve seen taste a fresh fig for the first time has been surprised that they don’t taste like inside of a fig newton or the dried Turkish figs in those Christmas baskets.

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That’s right, Muddy. The “weird taste” of store-bought figs (probably not fully ripe) turned both my hubby and me off.

In fact, I can’t convinced him to try my home-grown figs yet. I picked a Paradiso fig a bit too early this summer. Even at that state, it tasted good. I hope I can convince him to try it next year. Maybe, it can change his mind.

That canned pear taste is fixed by submerging them in green jello.


that’s what my grandma always did with them. I like pears a lot, even the canned ones still taste awesome to me.

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I still haven’t had a fig that I really enjoyed. I’ve had a few that were OK and most of them tasted like survival food (if you are hungry enough it isn’t particularly bad tasting- kind of how Fruitnut described jujubes). But, so many people seem to love them, so I’m giving growing them a try. Also, my wife even likes the bad (to me) ones, so I do have consumers at home if I still don’t like them.

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figs often need some time to get ‘seasoned’ --by letting them sit on the kitchen counter for a bit, just so the flavor-dampening, if not outright bitter and grassy-tasting latex gets degraded(metabolized?)

but by then many figs get mushy, which is a concurrent con to the supposed pro of latex deactivation…

as for jujubes, well, cigarettes are the closest analogy-- people either like them so much, or detest them outright.
There will also be people who detest them outright, then later like them so much, like myself and quite a number of folks have introduced this weird fruit to.

jujus also bear quite profusely on their first year, but palatability is often not at its peak, for a couple of years or so.

and to further confound, there’s so much variability–as the variety li, even when borne on mature trees, the fruits which ripened in June/july are huge and sweet, but they are spongy, dry, and plain, even if trees were heavily irrigated the night before. Only good for drying as dates, aka survival food.

However, fruits borne later(in the same summer) which ripened in late sept/october/early november are a radically different story. Those are still quite sweet, but will also be quite tart, crisp, and incredibly juicy! Considerably better than hj and sugarcane imo, and funny as it may sound, won’t trade for the best apples out there.

garlic may not be a fruit, but to me it was something i couldn’t stand chewing or swallowing when i was a youngster, spitting it out if by chance a fragment of sauteed garlic got insinuated into the spoonful of cream of mushroom our mom used to serve us. Now it is something i relish and even go out of my way to seek out, haha


I still like canned pears also. How about creamed cheese rolled in chopped walnuts and placed in red jello, a staple at every church potluck when we grew up. Oh almost forgot this… boiled tomatoes and white bread, lunch time favorite:yum:

I have grown to savor my own pears as a truly gourmet fruit in the fall months- no greater compliment to fine cheese. This is a taste I’ve developed in my late middle years and based purely on pears from my own trees. I’ve always considered pears to be good- just not sensational, excepting maybe the occasional perfect Comice.

Bob Vance supplied me with my first taste of jujubes. I don’t understand why they’d be controversial based on his- what’s not to like about pure sugar with some texture?

I tried to sell him on some fresh figs I had on a tree at the time, but a few grey days had rendered them inadequately sweet as it was late Sept. It’s amazing how quickly the sweetness drops off with figs and how they have to be absolutely tree-ripe to have it.

I agree, based on what I’ve grown (super-sweet, crunchy apple flavor). I think the ones I brought over were mostly So, my oldest jujube. While I think So is very good, Honey Jar and Sugar Cane may be even better (both have a bit more sugar and slightly better texture), at least from the handful I got- 6 from a new HJ graft and 2 from a young SC tree.

But I’ve had bad ones from the Chinese grocery store which are spongy and not sweet (10-12 brix instead of the 22-28 brix ones you tried), yet still apparently acceptable to people who grew up with them. I think some of it is the variety (large fruit made for drying) and some is probably how they grow/handle them (not enough water, not ripe when picked, sit around in shipment).

It was a good try. One of the sweeter ones you gave me from the fridge was in the “ok” category. Still not enough sugar to make up for the soft texture. I don’t recall the brix reading, but I think the higher ones from the fridge were ~15 and the fresh ones were 10-12. I did a bit of checking online and I see a lot of readings around 17, with some in the low 20’s. So there is hope. And if not, at least my wife likes them…

You came at the tail end of fig season here. I never really noticed a dropping off of sugar as I don’t have that high a requirement, but the refractometer makes me much more aware. Next year I will compare Aug figs to late Sept ones by way or the RM. Once fig lose adequate sweetness, (which will be variable depending on your palate) they certainly become unpalatable- I mean, spit them out immediately!

off the tree, a bit of drying (to concentrate the sugars)may help sweeten lackluster fresh figs.But the texture does get a little iffy for many people when in that borderline stage prior to drying, so desiccating is the last resort to get it chewy, instead of mushy… We’re ardent proponents of fresh figs too where we’re at, since we live in the desert, but found it a really tough sell for reasons you just brought up. With jujubes, people easily learn to enjoy them the second time around, and actually start seeking them out. But figs? it is a futile endeavor…

i sometimes think it is reason why they sell figs dried and not fresh, apart from being easily bruised when fresh, getting more mushy in the process…