Bred for ease and convenience

Have you seen the ads for the latest innovation in fruit? These orange edibles are an interesting hybrid blending two varieties of mandarins. They’re not yet available in my local grocery store, but I’m looking forward to trying them.

What caught my eye is the way this fruit is marketed. It’s being positioned as “easy to peel”. Don’t get me wrong, anything to get our kids eating fruits and veggies is fine by me (especially when one of those kids is the little girl with the sweet tooth in the next room). But I must admit I find myself slipping into ‘these kids have it too easy’ mode when I see fruit labeled as ‘easy to peel.’

Those of us of a certain age didn’t enjoy such luxuries back in the waning decades of the 20th century. Eating citrus fruit was an adventure as a kid. Anything other than your basic orange was on the high end of the citrus fruit spectrum. We were a proud, working class, orange collar family! As I recall, oranges back then were not especially easy to peel and the seeds were plentiful, yet it was all worth it to get to the juicy, pulpy, fruity reward that awaited beneath that thick exterior.

The noble apple was another go-to-fruit in our household. My grandmother was big on apples. Due to some dental issues I won’t get into in these pages, it was necessary that she perform fruit butchery on her McIntoshs. My grandmother had an old pocket knife that — to my young eyes — rivaled Wolverine’s claws, and her skills with that blade were quite impressive.

Between her and John Sr. I learned a thing or two about slicing and dicing fruits and vegetables. That’s why, for the longest time, I was very reluctant to purchasing “convenient” produce. Why pay extra for easy peel or pre-prepped? Just take out your trusty paring knife and go to town.

But no more! Although from time to time, I still enjoy the therapeutic benefits of holding a piece of cold steel in my hand and dissecting my fruits and veggies, I no longer bristle at the idea of pre-peeled and sliced carrots, or pre-washed and chopped salad greens or pre-cut melon slices.

So why should ‘easy to peel’ citrus be any different?

Despite my documented resistance to being a first adopter, I am very excited to get my hands on a couple of sweet, little Cuties (wow, a line like this taken out of context might be troubling!)

The marvels of botanical science! I wonder what’s next, corn that doesn’t stick in your teeth or collard greens that don’t stink up the house when you overcook them?

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