Benefits and Signs of Spoilage in 11 Fruits
Healthy fruit is usually the way to go when it comes to maintaining your health.
Of course, that implies wise consumption. I.E., not overdoing it and sticking to only fresh fruits.
And fresh here means fruit that hasn’t begun to rot or spoil.
These sad-looking fruits won’t offer the same amazing health benefits as their fresh counterparts do, which is key in making these 11 tasty fruits work in your favor.
Apples contain ample fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and some B vitamins. They’re considered a high-carbohydrate fruit.
Eating apples can promote heart health with its antioxidant content, as well as help to reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes.
Apples that are going bad will start to brown and develop soft spots. While they won’t provide the best nutritional value once they start to go, if they haven’t completely spoiled, they could be sliced up and frozen to be used for applesauce.
Bananas are best known for their high potassium content with just one medium banana providing 12% of the recommended daily intake (RDI).
Did you know…
That by eating green, unripe bananas, which contain mostly resistant starch due to their carb content, you could help yourself feel fuller or even improve your blood sugar?
How’s that for bananas?
Overripe bananas are obviously past their mark when they start to get brown, soft, and mushy. While they won’t make for the best snack, overripe bananas nearing the end of their shelf-life get sweeter and many people will bag and freeze them to be used in recipes like banana bread or banana pancakes.
One medium-sized peach will give you a decent RDI helping of vitamin C and A. Where they really shine is in their antioxidant count.
Consider a peach a day key to helping the body fight disease and aging, with the fresher peaches providing the most antioxidants. In fact, fresh peaches when compared to canned ones, offer greater protection against oxidative damage.
Aside from improving your skin and heart health, the soluble fiber in peaches is great for your digestive health as well.
Did you know…
Peaches have been shown to reduce allergy symptoms?
When allergies strike, they produce histamines, which are your body’s way of fighting off symptoms such as coughing, itching, and sneezing. Peaches may actually reduce those symptoms by preventing histamines from entering your blood.
Here’s how to ensure your peaches are ripe and perfect for eating:
When you press down into the flesh, they have a slight give.
Even firm peaches will continue to ripen after they’ve been picked, which is something you can expedite by setting them on the countertop for 1-3 days. They’ll last at room temperature for about a week but they can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer to avoid over-ripening.
If you’re going to freeze them, at least slice them and rinse them in some lemon juice. That should help them to avoid browning.
High in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.
Blueberries are also high in antioxidants–the most of any common supermarket fruit. This means they can help improve cardiovascular risk factors and possibly even lower high blood pressure.
They’re often advertised as a superfood you can enjoy regularly due to their high antioxidant level and overall nutritional value.
It gets better…
Consuming blueberries has also been linked to improvements in bone health and density, blood pressure, and skin health.
For skin health it’s all about the blueberry’s high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is the biggest contributor to healthy collagen production which promotes better skin health. In fact, just a single cup of blueberries can provide you with 24% of the RDI for vitamin C.
And here’s the bad:
As with any fruit, once they start to go bad, their nutritional value drops. If your blueberries are turning mushy, becoming discolored, or even start to get moldy, that means they’re best fed to the compost heap.
Loads of vitamin A and vitamin C, and a noteworthy potassium and fiber content are packed into cherries, making them a well-balanced fruit to snack on.
When deciding between sweet and sour cherries, keep in mind that sour cherries are somewhat nutritionally superior to the sweet ones.
And for the cherry on top:
Cherries contain melatonin which can help you fight sleep disorders like insomnia. Even drinking tart cherry juice has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration!
Cherries should be tossed once they become discolored, too soft or mushy, or signs of mold appear.
Red or purple grapes stand out with a high antioxidant count, and can further help fight inflammation thanks to the anthocyanins and resveratrol they contain.
Red and purple grapes tend to make the best wines due to their antioxidants and sugar content, which is why it’s often reported that a glass a wine a day can actually be great for your heart!
Regardless of the variety, if your grapes are going bad, they’ll gain brown spots, feel less firm, and may even start to ferment, creating a vinegar-like smell.
By the way:
If the grape stems are no longer pliable and green, and the grapes themselves aren’t looking as plump, that’s basically when they start to rot.
1 c. of pineapple provides 131% RDI of vitamin C and 76% of manganese.
Pineapple also contains bromelain, which boasts anti-inflammatory properties and was reported to potentially reduce the risk of cancer.
There’s also something to be said of the pineapple’s ability to fight disease, thanks to its antioxidant contents. Flavonoids and phenolic acids are the most common, which help the body and immune system to become stronger.
Here’s the important part:
A lot of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound, meaning they allow the antioxidants to survive longer in the body to produce longer-lasting effects.
If your pineapple is going bad, you’ll notice brown leaves on the crown, followed by the body becoming dried out as the bottom seems to become very wet and moist.
Still not sure if your pineapple is any good?
Use your sense of smell and taste if needed. Pineapples that are going bad won’t smell as sweet; in fact, that tropically rich smell will turn pungent and vinegar-like. The fruit itself gets darker in color, softer, and the overall taste just won’t register as “fresh” to your palate.
High in vitamin C, manganese, folate, and potassium.
Strawberries are great for those who have to worry about their blood sugar levels as they have a low glycemic index.
Here’s a fun fact:
There are over 600 different types of strawberries.
In studies, strawberries have been shown to improve heart health, including aiding in the reduction of strokes and heart disease; the latter of which could purportedly reduce heart attacks by 32% (in a study conducted on women).
Mold is one of the first signs people notice about the health of their strawberries. It’ll grow around the stem area and actually spread to other strawberries they’re touching.
So, even if one or two look ready for the trash, you might be able to enjoy the rest by tossing the bad ones and rinsing off the remaining batch.
Discoloration and a mushy texture are other common traits of rotten strawberries to look out for.
Pears boast a noticeable vitamin C and K content, along with potassium and antioxidant compounds, including phenolic acid, which can help fight free radicals, boosting the body’s metabolism.
With the aid of a pear’s vitamin A, C, and flavonoid compounds, the body can work to help reduce the risk of cancer (specifically lung cancer) and enhance the body’s immune system.
A bad pear will go brown fast or appear with brown blemishes across the surface.
Here’s a quick test:
If pressing your thumb into the pear penetrates the skin, it’s getting ready to expire.
Unfortunately, these signs may not always present or that obvious until cutting open the fruit. A brown and soft center, however, is a clear indicator that the pear is no longer healthy to eat, no matter how it appears on the outside.
You’ll find high amounts of vitamin A and C in watermelon, along with antioxidants like cucurbitacin E, carotenoids, and lycopene.
Consuming foods with lycopene has been linked to a reduction in risk of cancer of the digestive system, and has been found to be good for your heart as it can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
But wait, there’s more:
Watermelon has a water content of 92%, making it one of the most hydrating fruits available.
With watermelons it can be tricky to tell if one has started to go bad.
Ideally, if the spot the watermelon rests on has gone from yellow in color to white, that can be a sign of overripeness. A change in the fruit’s weight can also signal that the melon is drying out and thus on its way to expiration.
All the fruits on this list are exceptional additions to a balanced diet; with many offering well-supported health benefits that anyone can benefit from.
That is, as long as you stick to eating only fresh fruits. When you know how to spot spoilage and understand the timetable fresh fruit stays ripe under, you can avoid eating fruit that isn’t providing what it normally should; and further, you’ll be protecting yourself from consuming moldy or fermented fruit.
Bad fruit doesn’t just taste bad:
It can turn your stomach or worse, make you sick.
With all that in mind, stick to fresh fruits, keep an eye on their ripeness, practice better storage methods to prolong that ripeness, and always err on the side of caution: if it looks, smells, or tastes questionable, trust your gut and throw them out.
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Helen’s your eternally cheerful, next-door suburban mom that genuinely enjoys sharing with the whole neighborhood her latest fresh-from-the-oven culinary creations. She’s also a treasure trove of kitchen hacks and DIY advice if you have the patience to listen to her life story on repeat and the latest news on her son, Marv, and on how great he’s doing on the college football team. Fortunately, she agreed to leave her kitchen wisdom in writing as well when one of our editors with saintlike patience asked her to.