Well, Technically

Trees Didn’t Invent Fruit (We Did)

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

Don’t get me wrong, I love trees and I have to admit oxygen is a fine invention. I breathe it every day myself. But I can’t stand idly (as a tree would do) and let a plant take credit for a man’s work. So if anyone’s to pick up the accolades for inventing nature’s fast food, it has to be no other than the inventors of the original fast food. Cue Ode to Humanity.

How did the idea of fruits come about?

It’s true that the seed of the idea (pun very much intended) for fruit did come out of trees, but it takes brains and vision to create something like the Honeycrisp apple, and trees aren’t exactly famous for their cunning wits. They didn’t need fruit to be fleshy, look fresh or get FDA-approved. They just needed something sugarcoated to entice the travelling frugivore to eat their child seeds and hope they defecate them on some other hill (remember that when you complain about your shitty childhood).

So what did fruit look like?

On the left is what trees came up with; on the right are the improvements we made to them. But don’t let the infomercial-like “before/after” display fool you; the ancient ones have a very important strength the modern ones lack.

Banana (Credit/Credit)
Watermelon (Credit/Credit)
Yes, eggplants are fruits. (Credit/Credit)
Cucumber (Credit/Credit)
Cabbage. I know; not a fruit, but still interesting. (Credit/Credit)

You know, fruits used to be able to have sex.

It may not have been the most entertaining sex to watch, but it was their fun — and more importantly, it created genetic variety between them. Now with a large-scale industrial farming business to keep afloat, we bred fruit to grow faster, look better, and taste sweeter. And then we took those sweeter, better-looking ones and bred them with each other. The technical term is “selective breeding,” but if it helps to remember: it basically means we let fruit fuck so long as it was incest.

Hard to argue with this: In typical humanly fashion, we took it too far with bananas. Each banana you eat is a genetic clone of the previous one, so you’re technically eating the same banana over and over again. This however is not a diet hack; calories do add up.

So we’re eating inbred fruit. Why is that bad?

Well, our inbred fruit is sweet, big, and good-looking. But also, very retarded. If it had salivary glands they’d be drooling out their peduncles and parking on the handicapped spot whilst having no godforsaken clue how to defend themselves from invaders — pathogens, bacteria, insects; all kinds of filth want inside our crops, which is not difficult when all there is to a fruit’s immune system is the scarecrow in the whereabouts. This is why we need lots of pesticides, kids.

In the know:

  • Coffee rust is a serious threat (to my waking up in the morning).
  • We used to eat another variety of bananas, the Gros Michel, which the Panama disease wiped out.

But they’re still safe to consume, aren’t they?

Oh yeah, fruit is definitely safer than cocaine, so do include it in your paleo diet. Don’t go crazy on the smoothies though; all that time you save from chewing is a good way to overdose on fructose, and it’s hard to keep the doctor away when you have to get your diabetes treated. Besides, what kind of soy boy-looking moron wastes a cheat day on a Strawberry Surf Rider at Jamba Juice? Get some ice cream at least.

Fruit could use some improvements, to be honest.

Actually, we’re not quite done with it. One day you’ll hear that apple got an upgrade and it’s not gonna be new emojis for your iPhone (I hope it’s a fix to the apple inexplicably having all the nutrients in the skin, which makes no sense). In the meantime I would go ahead and decommission the cucumber; it’s like biting into water, there’s no point to it. At least make the pivot into a sex toy official so we can stop putting it on supermarket shelves.

Takeaway

Trees didn’t invent fruit. We did. We took the uninspired seed wraps they came up with and turned them into a real staple of the food pyramid. Yes, this left entire species of fruit one fungus away from total annihilation — but hey, we wanted blueberries in February and peaches in April. Some compromises had to be made.

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Informed. Opinionated. I might be wrong but never boring.