As you know we love talking about fruit, so we’re going to start – as it’s time for harvesting fruit in the UK – with a little chat about where it comes from.
That’s easy, we hear you say. Fruit grows on trees. Well yes, some does. But it’s not true of all fruit.
For example, pineapples grow on a spikey plant on the ground. The fruit as we know it is actually formed from many tiny flowers that turn into small berries that join together to make a pineapple.
Bananas are another fruit that doesn’t grow on trees. We think they do, but a banana plant, even though up to 10m in height, is not technically a tree but an herb. Next time you’re in a banana plantation take a close look at the sturdy stems and you’ll see they’re made of tightly packed leaves.
Other plants grow on vines. We’ve heard about grapevines, but did you know that melons also grow on vines, but close to the ground (probably because they’re rather heavy!) Strawberries also grow on the ground, but on runners and their name comes from the straw that the original growers placed beneath them to stop them rotting on the soil.
Most other berries (gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries) grow on prickly bushes – don’t just take our word for it, you just try harvesting a few hedgerow blackberries and you’ll soon find out just how thorny they can be!
But the fruit we love the best, the sort that comes in a perfect portion size, does grow on trees. Of course you could go pick some of it yourself – apples, pears and plums are all coming into perfect ripeness in the UK orchards – but unless you had permission and a long ladder, you might only pick up a few grub-infested windfalls.