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What Makes Fruit Mealy?


[ intro ] Everyone knows the sadness of biting into
a fresh piece of fruit only to find the inside is dry and mealy. It happens to lots of produce: peaches, watermelons, tomatoes, you name it. Some of the worst offenders are apples, like those shiny Red Delicious that are beautiful on the outside and all grainy when you take a bite. But these fruits aren’t /inherently/ terrible. They can start off yummy, and /become/ grainy. And a lot of the problem has to do with the
way they’re stored. When ripe apples are stored at cool temperatures, like inside your fridge, the cells making up the flesh of the fruit unstick from one another. But the tough outer walls of these cells stay
strong, so when you take a bite, they don’t break apart and release any juice. So instead of a burst of flavor, you just get that mealy texture. That gets worse as the apple dries out. Without moisture, the cells shrivel— and biting into those shriveled cells is like trying to pop a deflated balloon. The cells are less likely to burst and release
their flavor. And the more mature an apple is, the more it dries out. Plus, the cold air inside a refrigerator speeds
up the drying process, since it holds less moisture than warmer air. So research suggests that if you want to save
an apple for a few weeks, your best bet is to pop it in the fridge right
away, before it becomes /too/ mature. But the same rule doesn’t apply to all potentially-mealy
fruits. Soft fruits, like peaches and nectarines, can become mealy if you refrigerate them /too
soon/. That’s because their mealy texture is tied to the breakdown of a substance called
pectin. Pectin is a carbohydrate in cell walls that
fruit generates as it ripens. It strengthens cell walls and makes them stick together. But pectin can dissolve in water. And over time, as it dissolves, the cell walls lose their strength. In some fruits, pectin doesn’t /just/ dissolve,
either— it also gets broken into pieces by enzymes. And that’s a good thing. Under normal conditions, the cell walls weaken through these processes, and the fruit becomes nice and soft. When you bite into it, the cell walls burst and release their juice. Like a proper fruit. But as soon as you stick these fruits in the
fridge, that natural process starts to veer off track. In general, low temperatures slow down chemical
reactions, so if you keep fruit cold, its pectin molecules break down less. And /that/ means the cell walls hold up when
you bite into them, so whole cells break apart, rather than bursting. And you get a sad, mealy mouthful. But not all fruits will come out of the fridge
equally pathetic. Different kinds have different compounds attached to the pectin molecule, so they often ripen differently. And as a result, they /also/ react differently
to refrigeration. Still, as a general rule, fruits that continue to soften after they’re
harvested— like peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, and
tomatoes— should only be refrigerated /after/ they’re
fully ripened if you want to avoid that gross, grainy texture. Unfortunately, you can’t always know what happened to your
fruit before it got to the store. And from the outside, it’s impossible to tell which fruit already
has a mealy texture. But you can make sure it’s not your fault
that it becomes mealy by storing it at the right time. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow! If you liked this episode and you want to learn about another reason
we end up with disappointing fruit, you might be interested in this video about
why apples turn brown. You can watch that one next! [ outro ]

Randall Smitham

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100 COMMENTS

  1. nastjuschechka Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:37 am

    Oh just don't refrigerate fruit… cause it's weird…

    Reply
  2. Tricky Nicky Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:43 am

    Never heard of the world mealy

    Reply
  3. Michael Kimmer Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:46 am

    How many people actually refrigerate their apples? Honest question

    Reply
  4. Mark Susskind Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:47 am

    Meal sounds like a good thing, so why doesn't mealy sound like a good thing too?

    Reply
  5. Jeff Knott Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Never had this happen to me n I'm 45 yrs old plus I'd never heard of it neither

    Reply
  6. P Heart Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Traditional stone floored larder=no mealy fruit. I havnt used a fridge for about 3 years.

    Reply
  7. Simon's Discoveries Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:00 am

    I've never eaten an apple that tasted bad. Especially red delicious. Best apple ever!

    Reply
  8. UV Rays Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I watched this because I didn’t know what mealy was

    Reply
  9. Ya like jazz Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:23 am

    But what makes fruits Melee?

    Reply
  10. mixolydian mode Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Knock on the fruit and listen to the sound. If it is higher sounding it is good, if it is deeper it is mealy.

    Reply
  11. Acedons Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Who tf puts their fruit in the fridge?

    Reply
  12. LeatherNeck 1833 Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:43 am

    OK, lemme see if I got this straight: Refrigerate unripe non-juicy fruit right away, but let juicy fruit ripen before refrigerating? I'm more lost now than I didn't think I was before watching.

    Reply
  13. Ozdy yy Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:46 am

    I like them like that

    Reply
  14. Matas Vinikaitis Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:47 am

    What? You guys put fruit in fridges?

    Reply
  15. GH Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:47 am

    What about bananas????

    Reply
  16. Keven Gillett Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:56 am

    People keep apples in the fridge? O.o

    Reply
  17. Mouldy_Old_People Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Only ever had this with Watermellon, so gross

    Reply
  18. Benson Posted on February 25, 2020 at 8:06 am

    So, if it isn't refrigerated at the store beware putting it in the fridge. Gotcha.

    Reply
  19. KingOfGamesss Posted on February 25, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Bought three mangoes yesterday, two of them were delicious, the third was rotten

    Reply
  20. Missy Posted on February 25, 2020 at 8:52 am

    I don't think I've ever had a "mealy" fruit.

    Reply
  21. Manu Leach Posted on February 25, 2020 at 8:56 am

    Who the hell puts apples in the fridge?

    Reply
  22. Twoheaded Head Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Please fix this in the next patch

    Reply
  23. Samuel Bomorse Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:02 am

    2:29 he pronounces "soften" weirdly. The "T" is silent, you don't pronounce it 🤢🤮

    Reply
  24. ibro khan Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:25 am

    What is mealy texture tho?

    Reply
  25. C104 Otaku Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:36 am

    I actully like the flavour

    Reply
  26. J B Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Who refrigerates whole fruit?

    Reply
  27. Candoran2 Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:01 am

    I didn't realize people kept fruits in the fridge. In the stores where we shop, fruits are not refrigerated, so we don't do it either.

    Reply
  28. Existenceisillusion Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:07 am

    I alternate putting fruit in the refrigerator and taking it out every six hours

    Reply
  29. Michael Pace Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:07 am

    This information is so useful!

    Reply
  30. Snowball Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:08 am

    To be honest I kind of like the texture…

    Reply
  31. Freddie Ellis Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:14 am

    Only ever trust Granny Smith apples. All other apples are trash!

    Reply
  32. Pepper Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Weird… Aren't you supposed to keep most fruit out of the fridge? The only fruit i stick in there is berries.

    Reply
  33. Jabberwotchi Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Red delicious apples are disgusting

    Reply
  34. Hrvoje Vulin Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:42 am

    don't buy beautiful fruit (the ugly ones are the best ones) and don't buy it in a store… eat it as soon as you buy it and you won't have problems… if you want to preserve it – can it, don't put it in a fridge…. you people eat too much trash….

    Reply
  35. Ash Posted on February 25, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    i have literally never had this issue with any fruit. Nor have i ever put them in the fridge.

    Reply
  36. Petrichor Posted on February 25, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Tomatoes should not be refrigerated, they will loose their flavor

    Reply
  37. Drāno drain cleaner Posted on February 25, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Hmm so thats the word i always actually thought it was a fungus that infected the apple and changed its texture lol

    Reply
  38. Leafmen Soldier Posted on February 25, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    This video assumes that I store my fruits in the fridge…

    Reply
  39. John Mike Posted on February 25, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Soft apples (even if it's slightly soft) = mealy, poor taste, maybe good for pies and puree
    Grapes are pretty much good from when they just ripen a bit until they dry, some grapes that get a slight frost bite can become insanely tasty, but i don't the right combination, it's more of a pure luck

    Reply
  40. FireSnake Posted on February 25, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    long story short, don't refrigerate your fruites they're best fresh anyways^^

    Reply
  41. Dominic H. Posted on February 25, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Who the hell puts fruit in the fridge?

    Reply
  42. Vulpes Posted on February 25, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    I guess Polish apples are amazing because I never had one that was not juicy.

    Reply
  43. nomine * Posted on February 25, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Guess that's why we'd always leave the apples in the garage to keep cold right after we'd picked them off the tree.

    Reply
  44. Honey Bee86 Posted on February 25, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    How about how to keep AVOCADOS from browning???

    Reply
  45. Wolf with Laces Posted on February 25, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Is this the same thing when you buy a fruit and when you bite into it, it leaves a floury feeling in your mouth as if you just ate cotton. Or is that something else?

    Reply
  46. James Harmer Posted on February 25, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Didn't even know that this was a thing. American food is horrible in so many different ways.

    Reply
  47. Adrian Parsons Posted on February 25, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Before today I had only ever found the word "mealy" in the phrase "mealy mouthed".
    Also I can't believe all the hate in the comments directed at Red Delicious Apples which are clearly the best apples in existence.

    Reply
  48. mMeFlora Posted on February 25, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    who stores their fruit in the fridge…..

    Reply
  49. Kristalia Astari Posted on February 25, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Um I've never put any of these in the fridge, was taught not to when I was young lol.

    Reply
  50. C S Posted on February 25, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Never heard the word mealy before!

    Reply
  51. Demi Ajomale Posted on February 25, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    What does mealy mean

    Reply
  52. Satoshi Matrix Posted on February 25, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    I wonder if the word "mealy" is a regional term. I've literally never heard it. Before I watched the video, I thought the content was going to be about why some fruit is more filling than others, why eating certain fruit feels more like a meal.

    Reply
  53. faith over fear Posted on February 25, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    I didnt know that this was a thing, let alone that it had a name

    Reply
  54. Verticom 1 Posted on February 25, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Pears, man. Every time.

    Reply
  55. Deaf Vegetables Posted on February 25, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    i had no clue people put there fruit in the fridge

    Reply
  56. Hariti Khatri Posted on February 25, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    What I learned today: Fresh fruits are supposed to be refrigerated. I have lived in the American south my whole life, and we always just keep fresh fruit in the pantry or on the windowsill.

    Reply
  57. MrNicoJac Posted on February 25, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    As a European, I have no idea what you're talking about 😆

    Reply
  58. TheNefari Posted on February 25, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Why do apples turn brown?
    because they are racist 😀

    Reply
  59. PARADOXICLES Posted on February 25, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    i have NEVER heard any one describe fruit as "mealy", let alone mean it as a negative.
    When i hear "mealy" im hearing you say "exhibiting properties of a meal" not "decaying and disgusting"

    Reply
  60. Emily Rowland-Rawson Posted on February 25, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    to be honest, america has kind of trash apples, i tried one once, it was bad.
    But british apples are the apples of gods.

    Reply
  61. Ashley Guthrie Posted on February 25, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    In my experience, I have noticed apples are much crispier and tastier if I store them in the fridge vs on the countertop. Plus the cold just tastes better imo. I never buy Red Delicious though because they suck no matter how you store them lol. If your apple is mealy, just stick it in a smoothie or apple cake or pancakes or stuff nad bake it or something.

    Reply
  62. Patricia Lin Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    That weirdo who likes mealy apples is me! Who’s with me!

    Reply
  63. TheDarxide23 Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Those red delicious are mealy right off of the tree. They're not good for anything.

    Reply
  64. Principal Skinner Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    No one uses the term mealy. Literally never heard it used once in my life.

    Reply
  65. DemonXeron Posted on February 25, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Top tip: Smell your fruit. If its fragrant, it's ripe; if it is less so, it is under-ripe and if it is too fragrant it is far gone or has gone mealy. Sometimes mealiness is hard to detect, but with practice you notice it has a different scent. Some fruits are easier than others. Try with soft fruit, oranges and bananas first, then apples are a good next step.
    How I store my fruits:
    Store in fridge at purchase (2C/35F): Blueberries, raspberries, grapes, oranges (sometimes), Strawberries
    Store at room temp (21C/70F): Bananas, oranges, Melons (Pepos) Apples, nectarines, peaches, plums

    Why? Because when I buy fruit I chow down on that stuff quickly. Fruit that is quick to perish goes in the fridge. Always buy and use fruit straight away or as soon as it goes ripe. I almost never have a fruit go grainy and sad on me except for the rare case I lazily don't check or smell the fruit beforehand.

    Reply
  66. ot0m0t0 Posted on February 25, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    What if we blend apples? Would it break the cell walls?

    Reply
  67. Anthony Angel Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Apples suck anyway

    Reply
  68. Aidan Or Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Any fruit that I eat raw I put in a fruit bowl, not the fridge.

    Reply
  69. 5h4d0w Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    I actually like drier peaches because it's less messy and I don't what just tastes better

    Reply
  70. Diamond Jub Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    It's the Mealworms, they get in there and meal it up

    Reply
  71. Costeño Salao Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    Start taking your fruit back to the store and ask for a refund if it's mealy, sour, rotten, or otherwise disgusting. Supermarkets will continue punking us with fruit that looks fine but tastes terrible, unless we do something about it.

    Reply
  72. Christine Bailey Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    DEHYDRATION !

    Reply
  73. Lizzard Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    I have terrible PTSD from getting too many mealy peaches from the grocery store. It's hard to even buy them at farmer's markets now, I'm too scared they'll be super gross.

    Reply
  74. SaiyanGohan2000 DustiestPancake Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:04 am

    My solution to disappointing fruit is to just never eat fruit. Or vegetables.

    Reply
  75. Hank Yarbo Posted on February 26, 2020 at 1:10 am

    i hope i never encounter the word "mealy" ever again we should get rid of it

    Reply
  76. TheARN44 Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:20 am

    I've had these honeycrisp apples in the fridge for over a month and they still taste juicy, sweet, and delicious

    Reply
  77. Aldebaran Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:14 am

    My takeaway: keep fruit out of the fridge.

    Challenge accepted.

    Reply
  78. darktimber13 Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:05 am

    Its not impossible to tell how mealy a fruit will be from the outside. Depending on the fruit anything from squeezing it to hearing the echoes if you flick or tap it will give you an indication.

    Reply
  79. Catherine Lu Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:17 am

    I'm confused what "mealy" means in the context of less-ripe peaches. Hard nectarines are my favorite and they don't see to be dry or grainy? (I happened to be eating one while watching this video lol)

    Reply
  80. Dan Mel Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Is (mealy) a Canadian word or something?

    Reply
  81. TheTrevorist Posted on February 26, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Omg I love mealy apples, thank you for telling me how to make them

    Reply
  82. Ebby Posted on February 26, 2020 at 10:05 am

    TIL people refrigerate their fruit and it's apparently my family that's weird by not doing that.

    Reply
  83. Hanny Mary Posted on February 26, 2020 at 10:10 am

    I remember loving Red delicious apples when I was a kid but they are not shelf stable. Only good when fresh.🙁

    Reply
  84. Caterfree10 Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    I have never had a Red “Delicious” that was anything but mealy awfulness. That particular apple type can go straight to hell to make room for better apples.

    Reply
  85. hatthatt Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    i love that the German word for "mealy" is "mehlig" which sounds like the fruit is "flour like". Thats exactly like it feels like for me 😅

    Reply
  86. huggiebird Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Is refrigiating fruit an American thing? I am Dutch and the only fruits I refrigiate are tomatoes, strawberries and other kind of berries, like blackberries and grapes. Melons and banana´s and apples stay outside of the fridge. Melons only go in when they have been cut into.

    Reply
  87. Nightshade Kelly Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Every time I take a bite out of an apple like this it makes me sick. It's just so gross lol

    Reply
  88. Thc Luky Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I read fruit medley

    Reply
  89. Aadil Shah Posted on February 26, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Why not eat you fruit fresh?
    Why refrigerate them?
    Buy from a reputable grocer.

    Reply
  90. hang da clown Posted on February 26, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    dafuq is "mealy"? literally never encountered this word before

    Reply
  91. Meowstical Posted on February 26, 2020 at 11:24 pm

    Wait, some people refrigerate apples? I mean, I could see it being used for shipping, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone chill at apple at home. Same with… well, most fruit, aside from maybe berries.

    Reply
  92. Shana Frazier Posted on February 27, 2020 at 1:49 am

    What about plums? Or do they fall under one of the other fruits mentioned

    Reply
  93. Jeffrey Townson Posted on February 27, 2020 at 2:37 am

    I am so confused. I have never experienced anything like what you have described and I eat fruit everyday. I don’t know what a mealy apple is.

    Reply
  94. George Coggins Posted on February 27, 2020 at 2:37 am

    So what's this have to do with being wormy? Mealy always meant wormy here in pa

    Reply
  95. Dancing Virgil Posted on February 27, 2020 at 11:51 am

    That was most unsatisfying

    Reply
  96. TheBusyJane Posted on February 27, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    People refrigerate apples?

    Reply
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