Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grāppling With It

For an embarrassingly long time now, I've been reading The Fruit Hunters by Adam Leith Gollner. It's an interesting book, maybe a little gee-whizzy. I'm kind of partial to it because he credits my mother with today's widespread use of Meyer Lemons. (Full disclosure: my mom is Lindsey Shere. That makes me awfully lucky).

There are so many fruits to try--Gollner estimates that 70,000 to 80,000 different plant species bear edible fruit. Will I ever taste pitabu, the fruit that tastes like orange sherbet, almonds, and raspberries?

The one fruit I read about that didn't tempt me was the grāpple. Made in Wenatchee, Washington, they're grape flavored apples. The name is a little unfortunate. On the other hand, what else would you call a cross between a grape and an apple? An 'ape'?

(That will always remind me of the talking stuffed monkey my daughter had. It told one joke, in its annoying electronic voice: What's a monkeys favorite fruit? Apricot. Get it? Ape-ricot!)

Turns out it's supposed to be pronounced 'gray-pull'. Good luck with that!

And by the way, it's not really a cross between a grape and an apple. It's a Fuji or a Gala apple that's undergone a process that infuses what was once a perfectly happy apple with artificial grape flavor.

I wouldn't have tried these if I hadn't come across them in a Vancouver grocery store last week. I was traveling--I was curious--I thought I should give things a try (I did, after all, eat tripe). So I bought them. As soon as I got them back to the hotel room, I realized my mistake.

Grāpples might look like regular apples. But they smell like Bub's Daddy grape-flavored bubble gum. Like a lot of the gum. Our room smelled like my 5th grade classroom.

We gave the grāpples a try, expecting the worst. But surprise--when I bit in, the grāpple tasted like a sweet apple. For about a millisecond. And then my mouth was flooded with the most artificial, chemical taste of every bad grape-flavored thing I've ever tried. Put together. And it wouldn't go away.

That's as far as I got in the grāpple. I think I'll hold out for miracle fruit, and even work on learning to love mangoes.


Thérèse said...

How wrong. I like this bit from the description of the process: "A relaxing bathing process prepares our apples for you or your kids." What--the apples appreciate the relaxation???

Giovanna said...

I guess they're see it as a spa day for apples.

I liked the end of the video, where the grapple inventor talked about people's reactions to their first bite: "usually it's a smile and their eyes light up because they are not expecting an apple to taste like anything other than an apple."

The look on the woman's face didn't look like a happy look to me!

Kathaleeny said...

Believe it or not, my daughter begged me to buy these when we saw them at the dreaded Wal-Mart. You can't deny a child an apple so we got that very blister pack in the photo. I couldn't believe how good they smelled when I cut into one.

Don't judge til you try.

Grace said...

Eew, that sounds really bad. I mean, of all the artificial flavors they could use, they choose the worst one. I don't think it's a good idea to infuse fruit with ANY artificial flavor, but if they have to do it, why don't they use a more neutral flavor, like lemon?

Giovanna said...

I guess you never know...artificial grape was always one of my kids least favorites. I still think it's just an odd thing to do, and a lot of expense (not to mention the extra packaging--those clambshell packs aren't picked up in our recycling).

We used to toss apple slices with lemon juice for kids' lunches. That was always a hit--or a little cinnamon sugar.

Charles Shere said...


That relaxing bath is apparently a secret infusion process. Yum.

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