Selling unripe fruit is a crime against humanity

This is what they sell us! Rubbish! This is where your money ends up! In the dustbin! In the form of uneatable, unripened fruit (and many other uneatable things). We bought this pack of two avocados from a co-op shop. I cut the first one. It was rock hard and tasteless. I cut the next one. It was the same. Unless you have very strong teeth, you wouldn’t be able to eat it. It was completely unripened, like most fruit in UK supermarkets.

Unripened fruit in UK supermarkets are the rule rather than the exception. That’s because supermarket companies control their production, including the time they are collected, doing everything they can to maximise their prοfits. In my opinion, this is nothing less than a crime against humanity for many reasons. Far more serious than what people imagine.

Most people in the UK are not even aware of the problem because they have never known anything better in their lifetimes. Many smiled ironically at my “ignorance” and suggested to me that I can ripen them myself. I attempted to convince them that I am not an avocado tree, but to no avail. Unripened avocados will never become ripe. They will only rot, become blackish, and end up where they belong – in the dustbin.

People have become accustomed to eating unripened fruit and they imagine it’s good for them. In fact, it isn’t and, sometimes, it’s worse. After searching on google, I was relieved to discover that I was not alone in my worries about unripened avocados (and fruit generally). It seems that most people agree that unripened avocados have a hard, firm texture and a bitter taste that most find unpleasant but people have different ideas about how to cope with the problem.

At least, it comes as a relief to be assured by an expert (if we suppose that she is absolutely right) that despite their horrible taste and the indisputable fact that they are by no means as good as the naturally ripened ones, unripe avocados are not poisonous. In Mit Medical, a website of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we read the following dialogue (under “Ask Lucy”):

“Dear Lucy: Avocados are an expensive fruit for a student budget, which is why whenever I misjudge an avocado and open up an unripe one, I’m tempted to eat it anyway, even though it tastes awful. But is it true that unripe avocados are toxic to humans?

“Dear OD: Lucy, also an avocado lover – and one with still-vivid memories of trying to eat well on a student budget – took your question straight to MIT Medical nutritionist Anna Jasonides, R.D. To Lucy’s relief, Jasonides was quick to reassure her that as far as humans are concerned, the only possible harm in avocados may be in the number of calories they contain (however, she’s quick to add, most of those calories come from good, monosaturated fats).

“On the other hand, Jasonides says, if you were a bird, horse, or other domestic animal, you’d definitely want to avoid the fruit of unripe avocados, along with avocado pits, leaves, and stems, all of which contain a fatty acid derivative called “persin.” Consumed in sufficient quantities, persin can cause illness or death in many birds and domestic mammals, but it does not appear to be harmful to non-allergic humans.

“As you point out, however, the best reason to avoid unripe avocados is that they taste terrible!

“Information contained in Ask Lucy is intended solely for general educational purposes and is not intended as professional medical advice related to individual situations. Always obtain the advice of a qualified healthcare professional if you need medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Never disregard medical advice you have received, nor delay getting such advice, because of something you read in this column”.

The question is, unless you have your own fruit trees, can you find decent fruit anywhere in the UK? One answer is, only in Cypriot and other continental shops, you may stand a chance of occasionally finding ripe fruit. We hope to be able to research this possibility at some stage.