What Makes Fruit Mealy?


[ intro ] Everyone knows the sadness of biting into
a fresh piece of fruit only to find the inside is dry and mealy. It happens to lots of produce: peaches, watermelons, tomatoes, you name it. Some of the worst offenders are apples, like those shiny Red Delicious that are beautiful on the outside and all grainy when you take a bite. But these fruits aren’t /inherently/ terrible. They can start off yummy, and /become/ grainy. And a lot of the problem has to do with the
way they’re stored. When ripe apples are stored at cool temperatures, like inside your fridge, the cells making up the flesh of the fruit unstick from one another. But the tough outer walls of these cells stay
strong, so when you take a bite, they don’t break apart and release any juice. So instead of a burst of flavor, you just get that mealy texture. That gets worse as the apple dries out. Without moisture, the cells shrivel— and biting into those shriveled cells is like trying to pop a deflated balloon. The cells are less likely to burst and release
their flavor. And the more mature an apple is, the more it dries out. Plus, the cold air inside a refrigerator speeds
up the drying process, since it holds less moisture than warmer air. So research suggests that if you want to save
an apple for a few weeks, your best bet is to pop it in the fridge right
away, before it becomes /too/ mature. But the same rule doesn’t apply to all potentially-mealy
fruits. Soft fruits, like peaches and nectarines, can become mealy if you refrigerate them /too
soon/. That’s because their mealy texture is tied to the breakdown of a substance called
pectin. Pectin is a carbohydrate in cell walls that
fruit generates as it ripens. It strengthens cell walls and makes them stick together. But pectin can dissolve in water. And over time, as it dissolves, the cell walls lose their strength. In some fruits, pectin doesn’t /just/ dissolve,
either— it also gets broken into pieces by enzymes. And that’s a good thing. Under normal conditions, the cell walls weaken through these processes, and the fruit becomes nice and soft. When you bite into it, the cell walls burst and release their juice. Like a proper fruit. But as soon as you stick these fruits in the
fridge, that natural process starts to veer off track. In general, low temperatures slow down chemical
reactions, so if you keep fruit cold, its pectin molecules break down less. And /that/ means the cell walls hold up when
you bite into them, so whole cells break apart, rather than bursting. And you get a sad, mealy mouthful. But not all fruits will come out of the fridge
equally pathetic. Different kinds have different compounds attached to the pectin molecule, so they often ripen differently. And as a result, they /also/ react differently
to refrigeration. Still, as a general rule, fruits that continue to soften after they’re
harvested— like peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, and
tomatoes— should only be refrigerated /after/ they’re
fully ripened if you want to avoid that gross, grainy texture. Unfortunately, you can’t always know what happened to your
fruit before it got to the store. And from the outside, it’s impossible to tell which fruit already
has a mealy texture. But you can make sure it’s not your fault
that it becomes mealy by storing it at the right time. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow! If you liked this episode and you want to learn about another reason
we end up with disappointing fruit, you might be interested in this video about
why apples turn brown. You can watch that one next! [ outro ]

100 thoughts on “What Makes Fruit Mealy?

  1. Meal sounds like a good thing, so why doesn't mealy sound like a good thing too?

  2. Traditional stone floored larder=no mealy fruit. I havnt used a fridge for about 3 years.

  3. I've never eaten an apple that tasted bad. Especially red delicious. Best apple ever!

  4. Knock on the fruit and listen to the sound. If it is higher sounding it is good, if it is deeper it is mealy.

  5. OK, lemme see if I got this straight: Refrigerate unripe non-juicy fruit right away, but let juicy fruit ripen before refrigerating? I'm more lost now than I didn't think I was before watching.

  6. Bought three mangoes yesterday, two of them were delicious, the third was rotten

  7. 2:29 he pronounces "soften" weirdly. The "T" is silent, you don't pronounce it 🤢🤮

  8. I didn't realize people kept fruits in the fridge. In the stores where we shop, fruits are not refrigerated, so we don't do it either.

  9. I alternate putting fruit in the refrigerator and taking it out every six hours

  10. Weird… Aren't you supposed to keep most fruit out of the fridge? The only fruit i stick in there is berries.

  11. don't buy beautiful fruit (the ugly ones are the best ones) and don't buy it in a store… eat it as soon as you buy it and you won't have problems… if you want to preserve it – can it, don't put it in a fridge…. you people eat too much trash….

  12. i have literally never had this issue with any fruit. Nor have i ever put them in the fridge.

  13. Hmm so thats the word i always actually thought it was a fungus that infected the apple and changed its texture lol

  14. Soft apples (even if it's slightly soft) = mealy, poor taste, maybe good for pies and puree
    Grapes are pretty much good from when they just ripen a bit until they dry, some grapes that get a slight frost bite can become insanely tasty, but i don't the right combination, it's more of a pure luck

  15. Guess that's why we'd always leave the apples in the garage to keep cold right after we'd picked them off the tree.

  16. Is this the same thing when you buy a fruit and when you bite into it, it leaves a floury feeling in your mouth as if you just ate cotton. Or is that something else?

  17. Didn't even know that this was a thing. American food is horrible in so many different ways.

  18. Before today I had only ever found the word "mealy" in the phrase "mealy mouthed".
    Also I can't believe all the hate in the comments directed at Red Delicious Apples which are clearly the best apples in existence.

  19. Um I've never put any of these in the fridge, was taught not to when I was young lol.

  20. I wonder if the word "mealy" is a regional term. I've literally never heard it. Before I watched the video, I thought the content was going to be about why some fruit is more filling than others, why eating certain fruit feels more like a meal.

  21. What I learned today: Fresh fruits are supposed to be refrigerated. I have lived in the American south my whole life, and we always just keep fresh fruit in the pantry or on the windowsill.

  22. i have NEVER heard any one describe fruit as "mealy", let alone mean it as a negative.
    When i hear "mealy" im hearing you say "exhibiting properties of a meal" not "decaying and disgusting"

  23. to be honest, america has kind of trash apples, i tried one once, it was bad.
    But british apples are the apples of gods.

  24. In my experience, I have noticed apples are much crispier and tastier if I store them in the fridge vs on the countertop. Plus the cold just tastes better imo. I never buy Red Delicious though because they suck no matter how you store them lol. If your apple is mealy, just stick it in a smoothie or apple cake or pancakes or stuff nad bake it or something.

  25. Those red delicious are mealy right off of the tree. They're not good for anything.

  26. Top tip: Smell your fruit. If its fragrant, it's ripe; if it is less so, it is under-ripe and if it is too fragrant it is far gone or has gone mealy. Sometimes mealiness is hard to detect, but with practice you notice it has a different scent. Some fruits are easier than others. Try with soft fruit, oranges and bananas first, then apples are a good next step.
    How I store my fruits:
    Store in fridge at purchase (2C/35F): Blueberries, raspberries, grapes, oranges (sometimes), Strawberries
    Store at room temp (21C/70F): Bananas, oranges, Melons (Pepos) Apples, nectarines, peaches, plums

    Why? Because when I buy fruit I chow down on that stuff quickly. Fruit that is quick to perish goes in the fridge. Always buy and use fruit straight away or as soon as it goes ripe. I almost never have a fruit go grainy and sad on me except for the rare case I lazily don't check or smell the fruit beforehand.

  27. I actually like drier peaches because it's less messy and I don't what just tastes better

  28. Start taking your fruit back to the store and ask for a refund if it's mealy, sour, rotten, or otherwise disgusting. Supermarkets will continue punking us with fruit that looks fine but tastes terrible, unless we do something about it.

  29. I have terrible PTSD from getting too many mealy peaches from the grocery store. It's hard to even buy them at farmer's markets now, I'm too scared they'll be super gross.

  30. My solution to disappointing fruit is to just never eat fruit. Or vegetables.

  31. I've had these honeycrisp apples in the fridge for over a month and they still taste juicy, sweet, and delicious

  32. Its not impossible to tell how mealy a fruit will be from the outside. Depending on the fruit anything from squeezing it to hearing the echoes if you flick or tap it will give you an indication.

  33. I'm confused what "mealy" means in the context of less-ripe peaches. Hard nectarines are my favorite and they don't see to be dry or grainy? (I happened to be eating one while watching this video lol)

  34. TIL people refrigerate their fruit and it's apparently my family that's weird by not doing that.

  35. I remember loving Red delicious apples when I was a kid but they are not shelf stable. Only good when fresh.🙁

  36. I have never had a Red “Delicious” that was anything but mealy awfulness. That particular apple type can go straight to hell to make room for better apples.

  37. i love that the German word for "mealy" is "mehlig" which sounds like the fruit is "flour like". Thats exactly like it feels like for me 😅

  38. Is refrigiating fruit an American thing? I am Dutch and the only fruits I refrigiate are tomatoes, strawberries and other kind of berries, like blackberries and grapes. Melons and banana´s and apples stay outside of the fridge. Melons only go in when they have been cut into.

  39. Every time I take a bite out of an apple like this it makes me sick. It's just so gross lol

  40. Wait, some people refrigerate apples? I mean, I could see it being used for shipping, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone chill at apple at home. Same with… well, most fruit, aside from maybe berries.

  41. I am so confused. I have never experienced anything like what you have described and I eat fruit everyday. I don’t know what a mealy apple is.

  42. So what's this have to do with being wormy? Mealy always meant wormy here in pa

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