It happens. You leave a banana in the bottom of your work bag and pull it out the next day to discover a big, fat bruise. Or maybe you buy a big bag of apples at the store without inspecting each one only to notice a big welt on one of your Granny Smiths. Is it safe to eat the bruised fruit? If so, is it just as good for you as a perfect apple? Slate posted an article last week on bruised fruit and whether it's safe to eat. In the piece, they explain that a bruise is essentially just damage to the cells. When this occurs, it often lets oxygen break down the cell walls of a piece of fruit, resulting in deterioration or, eventually, mold. Writer Brian Palmer discussed what to do with different bruised fruits, noting "if you can't be bothered to trim your bruised banana or bake it into bread, there's little risk to your health in just eating it." As I continued reading, I couldn't help but wonder: sure, they may be safe, but are they as good for you?
Turns out they are, indeed. The nutritional benefit of the fruit isn't necessarily compromised although you have to watch for infection or mold (the chances of which increase with bruising) which is obviously not good for you. Palmer notes, "If your bruised fruit has so much fungal activity that you can see or smell it, don't eat it. In addition to bruised areas, you should check the area around the fruit's stem for mold, which is an entry point for opportunistic microbes. Food safety experts have a saying: If in doubt, throw it out."
What's your philosophy on bruised fruit? Cut around it or go to town?
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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