Are Cucumbers Unripe? Should We Eat Unripe Fruits And Vegetables?
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Are Cucumbers Unripe? Should We Eat Unripe Fruits And Vegetables?

by Angelika
(Greece)

Angelika's Question:


Hi Andrew!

We eat cucumbers in an unripe green form, and the yellow ripe ones often become bitter.

But to have optimal digestion, shouldn't we only eat ripe fruit and veggies?

How do you explain this contradiction?

Thanks for your info :)

Angelika

Andrew's Answer:

Hi Angelika.

There's definitely a distinction to be made between sweet fruits, vegetables, and vegetable fruits (foods that are considered vegetables for culinary purposes, but which are really fruits from a botanical perspective).

Vegetables:

Take lettuce, for instance, which is a straight up leaf vegetable.

The best lettuce is tender and young. If you wait too long for it to "ripen" (it doesn't, it just matures), the flavor and texture doesn't get better, but worse. It's best to eat lettuce when it tastes great, which is not the same thing as its most mature state.

Ripening Sweet Fruit:

Any sweet fruit will be at its best when ripest. Most people make the mistake of eating bananas that are still partially green and have a lot of starch content, for instance. These partially-ripe bananas don't digest well and frequently result in stomach aches when large amounts of bananas a consumed.

Learn more about ripening bananas and other fruit here.

Vegetable Fruits:

Vegetable fruits are really in a completely different realm, because some are eaten in a ripe state, like sweet fruit, and others will be ruined if you wait that long, because they're best in an immature state.

At one extreme we have kabocha squash, which tastes bland when it hasn't been ripened properly. Similarly, tomatoes don't taste good unless they're nice and ripe.

At the other extreme we have cucumbers, which are best when young and tender. If you wait too long, they'll often become bitter and tough.

Ripening Produce Take Away Theme:

Food doesn't always fit into neat little categories. Fruits and vegetables are a riot of botanical development, and will throw you curve balls at every step.

Categorization will only take you so far, so just learn to understand each individual food and its characteristics.

Following Up:

Eat a healthy raw food diet.

Learn which foods are healthy and which are harmful here.

Make delicious raw dressings and sauces to add fantastic, healthy flavor to your salads.


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