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Sun May 18, 2014, 04:02 PM

What's the deal with sweetening fruits?

I'm not necessarily referring to HCFS or artificial sweeteners (I use a limited amount of Splenda and Stevia myself in certain instances). I'm not interested in those campaigns personally. But just on a societal level, I'm just wondering why we in this Country find it necessary to add any kind of sweetener to fruits.

Why are almost all canned fruits packed in sugary syrups? Who decided that peaches and pears and pineapple aren't deliciously sweet all by themselves? True, if you shop in the right places and look carefully enough, you can find fruits canned in unsweetened juice, but there are far fewer varieties of those on the shelves, which must mean that there is less demand for juice-packed canned fruits and I just don't get it. I had to look in several stores before I finally found mandarin orange slices in unsweetened juice (thank you, DelMonte!).

I remember that when I was a kid, people would cut beautiful fresh peaches or berries and put them in a bowl AND SUGAR THEM.......before putting them on ice cream for dessert. What the heck??!!! Even my Mom, who always fed sensible, nutritious meals, would add some sugar to the gorgeous fresh strawberries we'd bring in from the garden.

Is it just a sugar addiction or do people not know that "in heavy syrup" or even "in light syrup" doesn't really mean that the fruit tastes better?

Just musing on a Sunday afternoon.

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Arrow 40 replies Author Time Post
Reply What's the deal with sweetening fruits? (Original post)
WillowTree May 2014 OP
Ed Suspicious May 2014 #1
pipoman May 2014 #14
frazzled May 2014 #18
CTyankee May 2014 #2
Freddie May 2014 #3
Major Nikon May 2014 #8
elleng May 2014 #16
stopbush May 2014 #4
Xipe Totec May 2014 #5
JCMach1 May 2014 #6
Major Nikon May 2014 #31
Cleita May 2014 #7
csziggy May 2014 #9
pinto May 2014 #10
Warpy May 2014 #36
pinto May 2014 #37
Warpy May 2014 #38
laundry_queen May 2014 #11
handmade34 May 2014 #13
dipsydoodle May 2014 #12
LineLineReply +
struggle4progress May 2014 #15
WillowTree May 2014 #22
dem in texas May 2014 #17
Frustratedlady May 2014 #19
TreasonousBastard May 2014 #20
CTyankee May 2014 #21
TreasonousBastard May 2014 #28
bettyellen May 2014 #23
TreasonousBastard May 2014 #33
SoCalDem May 2014 #24
dem in texas May 2014 #26
TreasonousBastard May 2014 #29
Bluenorthwest May 2014 #40
TreasonousBastard May 2014 #32
gollygee May 2014 #25
WillowTree May 2014 #30
dem in texas May 2014 #27
Aerows May 2014 #34
Brickbat May 2014 #35
RAAVAN May 2014 #39

Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:07 PM

1. I like to macerate strawberries to bring forth the succulent juices and then use that juice as a

sort of sauce for my angel food cake. Maceration is the bomb. I fail to see a compelling reason to deprive myself of that simple pleasure that can only be brought about in the most pleasing manner by use of a little sugar.

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #1)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:44 PM

14. i read through. ..This is the best answer

 

Followed by the tasteless out of season fruit.

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #1)

Sun May 18, 2014, 06:17 PM

18. I macerate fruit with a bit of sugar and Cointreau

This is how the French make a fruit salad, and I must say, it brings out the flavors and juiciness and then some (thanks, orange liqueur).

I agree that there's nothing wrong with adding a little sugar to fruits on occasion. Mostly we eat fruit (apples, pears, grapes, pineapple, etc.) just as it is. But for berries or a mixed-fruit salad, maceration is the extra step that makes the fruit better.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:12 PM

2. It's difficult...my spouse and I have fruit for dessert every night...

it's hard in the winter so we rely on canned fruit packed in water and the splenda. Our little farm market closed 3 years ago for repairs but hasn't opened up again...I miss having that option...

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:17 PM

3. Supermarket fruit is often not sweet

Picked unripe so it doesn't bruise or spoil during shipping. Fruit in-season like peaches and strawberries at the farm stand are infinitely better! Sadly the local-strawberry season here is very brief (late May and June) and the rest of the year it's back to those big tasteless red things at the supermarket.

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Response to Freddie (Reply #3)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:24 PM

8. Certain types of fruit (like peaches) will not get any sweeter after being picked

Bananas will continue to convert more complex carbohydrates into sugars after being picked but stone fruits will not even though they may get softer.

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Response to Freddie (Reply #3)

Sun May 18, 2014, 05:26 PM

16. RIGHT,

and I'm HOPING the wonderful local strawberries I found at farm market last year are READY, because I'll be passing by it this week!

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:19 PM

4. Depends on the fruit. Fresh pineapple isn't helped by sugar,

but even a tiny bit of sugar on strawberries helps to bring out their sweetness.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:20 PM

5. Try finding white grapfruit juice in the store - nearly impossible

All they carry now is Ruby Red Grapefruit; loaded with sugar. They don't need to add sugar to it it's already built into the genes. And don't get me started on sweet corn. Yuck!

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:22 PM

6. IT is extemely hard to find an applesauce these days that doesn't have HFCS

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Response to JCMach1 (Reply #6)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:40 PM

31. Applesauce is very easy to make yourself

Just chop up some apples in a pot with a little water and simmer for 20 minutes, then blend with a stick blender. I leave the skins on which greatly increases the fiber.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:24 PM

7. I think originally, it was used as a preservative in jams and canned fruit.

Then it just became a thing that's done because people got used to the sugar sweetened fruit.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:26 PM

9. Preservation

Foods packaged prior to modern techniques could be preserved by drying, salting, acid preservation or sugar preservation. Increasing salt levels, acidity, or sugar prevented growth of dangerous bacteria.

I suspect the continuing use of sugar is due to two factors - lingering taste preferences from before modern methods of preservation were possible and that sugar tastes so good it's addictive.

As far as adding sugar to fresh fruit, macerating fruit with some sugar draws out the juices which is sometimes desirable for some ways of presentation.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:26 PM

10. I'll use a bit of sugar and lime juice on sliced fruits. I think the 2 add to the whole taste.

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Response to pinto (Reply #10)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:36 PM

36. They do. Sugar to macerate and a little lime to brighten the flavor

makes for the best fruit flavors, especially if you live in an area where fresh fruits aren't commonly available, only the fruits picked green and gased into ripeness.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #36)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:41 PM

37. Yeah. Even here, with many fresh fruit options, I'll salt & lime and let sit for a bit.

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Response to pinto (Reply #37)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:50 PM

38. Well, the purists will never forgive us

I suppose we'll have to look to gourmands for approval.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:30 PM

11. As has been mentioned

Most supermarket fruit isn't all that sweet. There is zero comparison to store bought strawberries and the juicy, sweet, tangy ones you pick from your garden (or wild ones, omg yum!) I think food manufacturers add more sugar because the fruit they use is terrible quality.

Plus, I think in the 'old' days, sugar was added as a preservative when canning fruits. I know my grandmother used to can wild blueberries, and as sweet as those are, she still added sugar.

I mostly buy fruit in fruit juice. My kids don't like the syrup. My mom never bought the kind in syrup either. I can understand, though, if you are using it for a dessert. But overall, yeah, way too much sugar in everything out there.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #11)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:36 PM

13. so much sugar

and salt in all our food that our taste buds have become stunted... very sad

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:34 PM

12. Sugar, believe it or not, is a preservative.

.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #12)

Sun May 18, 2014, 04:45 PM

15. +

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #12)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:30 PM

22. Don't really need a preservative on fresh fruits unless you're going to store them.

And this day and age, even in those circumstances where we do want to preserve them, there are better ways to do it than adding carbs, calories and tooth decay that nature never intended.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 05:51 PM

17. Moderation

A teaspoon or two of sugars on a bowl of strawberries is not so bad. You need to be worried about all the sugar loaded soft drinks that people drink. I see them in the store buying shopping carts full of 12 packs of soft drinks. Their entire family will be future type 2 diabetics

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:08 PM

19. Adding a scant bit of sugar to strawberries

will start the juices flowing on strawberries. That is probably why she added it.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:25 PM

20. I just gave my melon baller a workout...

and, as has been mentioned, the stuff you buy isn't all that sweet, including Mexican cantaloupes.

So, after a bunch of cantaloupe and honeydew balls went into the bowl with some blueberries and strawberries came the mastifornication-- a little maple syrup, a little brown sugar, and little honey, and some cinnamon. The balls were much, much tastier after their swim than before without the sugar coma following canned fruit.


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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #20)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:30 PM

21. I just slice up those melons! I half them,then quarter them, then in eighths...

and there's our dessert! Voila!

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #21)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:38 PM

28. For myself, I'll just dig in with a spoon...

or fill the hole with ice cream and dig in with a spoon.

Why waste time cutting any more than you have to?

This was for an occasion, hence the work.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #20)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:38 PM

23. that sounds good, I like sugar that has a tiny bit of almond extract in it

 

in fruit salad. Just a tiny bit, that you don;t even know what it is. And salt on watermelons and some melons too.

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Response to bettyellen (Reply #23)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:43 PM

33. Almond extract would be good. Vanilla, too...

I simply forgot about vanilla.

Someone upthread mentioned chatreuse-- any sort of liqueur or brandy is excellent, too.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #20)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:40 PM

24. We actually sprinkled a bit of salt onto our canteloupe

Try it.. you'll like it

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #24)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:30 PM

26. Salt and Pepper

That's how we eat them. In Mexico, a lot of fresh fruit is eaten with chili powder sprinkled on it.

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Response to dem in texas (Reply #26)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:39 PM

29. Chili powder? Have to try that some time.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #29)

Mon May 19, 2014, 09:45 AM

40. Watermelon, chili powder and lime

 

Delicious

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #24)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:41 PM

32. Yes. Done that-- salt brings out flavors.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:47 PM

25. Kids started getting these damn "fruit snacks"

Otherwise known as gummi candy masquerading as fruit. My older daughter was given it for snack at preschool all the time, and guess what - she doesn't like fruit. We parents revolted and now the younger one doesn't get them. The school now has them banned as snacks.

But they expected fruit to taste like this gummi candy.

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Response to gollygee (Reply #25)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:40 PM

30. I dunno. Think I must just be strange or something.

In most instances, I'd really prefer almost any fruit in its natural state, even the less-tasty fruits that can be had in grocery stores. And this in spite of the fact that I grew up with many sweetened varieties.

Of course, there are a few exceptions. Cranberries and rhubarb (yes.......I know it's really a vegetable) are almost inedible to me unsweetened and I love them both with a little sweetener added.

Whatever. In the end, I feel really fortunate that my tastes are what they are in this regard. Lord knows there enough things out there that keep me in the gym and the dentist's office. LOL!!

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:35 PM

27. You can rinse canned fruits to wash off the sugary syrup

I used to work with a non-profit that had a meal program for seniors. We were getting surplus food from the government and the canned fruit was packed in sugary syrup. The nutritionist who oversaw the food program and menus told the food workers to just rinse the canned fruit with water and it could be served to diabetics.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:46 PM

34. I've NEVER like fruit with syrup

 

Or god forbid jello with fruit cocktail suspended in it (or worse, both with mayonnaise !!!? Who the hell thought of that joyless concoction?).

I don't even drink my iced tea with any sweetener in it, nor my coffee (which I actually quit a few years ago altogether since decaf tea does the job without the caffeine).


I had strawberries and blackberries yesterday that I cut up in a bowl ... washed and as they are. Ugh. Sweetening things for the sake of sweetening them .

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:12 PM

35. Sugar is a preservative.

The end.

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Response to WillowTree (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 01:32 AM

39. Fruit substitutes....

 

Some fruits are the best sugar substitutes. ... like orange, mango, banana...............

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