Well the world’s favourite fruit in terms of volume consumed is in fact the tomato. Gotcha! Of course, we’re not all choosing to have a tomato as a sweet snack – much of the volume comes from the vast volume of tomatoes that are consumed in sauces, on pizzas, in curries & so on. You get the picture.
Without doubt, the banana is the most popular fruit snack worldwide, with over 114 million tonnes eaten annually. After that it’s watermelons at 111 million tonnes (they’re very heavy!) then apples at around 85 million tonnes.
But did you know that many countries have a national fruit, officially (or unofficially designated) to them? We’re presuming a country’s national fruit is determined by popularity (and what’s easily available), so you won’t be surprised to learn that England’s national fruit is of course the apple. Note it says England – we haven’t a clue about the rest of the UK. We share our national fruit with Germany and Austria.
New Zealand’s national fruit is the kiwifruit and Japan’s is the Japanese persimmon (again, no surprises there).
Pomegranates are the favourite in Iran and Azerbaijan and mangoes in Haiti, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. China, with its vast geographical spread has two: the fuzzy kiwifruit (which is exactly the same as the ordinary. and equally fuzzy, kiwifruit) and the jujube or red date. Apparently Sir Richard Burton (the nineteenth-century English explorer, not the one who married Elizabeth Taylor twice) described the jujube’s taste as a combination of a bad plum, an unrepentant cherry and an insipid apple, but all tastes are subjective and it might be nicer than that.
Cambodia has the oddly named chicken egg banana as its national fruit. Of course it has little to do with chicken or eggs, but is a small and rather delicious-looking banana, grown mainly along the Mekong River.
And one that we like best, partly because of the custom attached to plums by the people of Serbia, where the saying goes that the ideal place to build a house is where a plum tree grows best. Not surprising that plums are revered – Serbia is the world’s second largest producer of plums (after China) and as well as enjoying their delicious fruitiness, the Serbs distil plums to make their national drink – slivovitz – used at those important rites of passage such as birth, baptism, military service, marriage and death.
Cheers! (or živeli as they say in Serbia)