Who determines what is ‘ugly’? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, certainly, but the perceptions of the beholder can be strongly influenced by outside forces.
In the world of produce, beauty vs. ugly is usually is determined first by the wholesale and grocery store system, which demand picture-perfect produce. Over time, consumers expect perfection in appearance in all produce as well, even if the flavor is bland and colorless. To the point where now, up to half of America’s produce ends up in the trash.
But you know what? Fruits and veggies do not all turn out picture-perfect! Just like people, some are beautiful to behold, and attract all sorts of foodie papperazzi and food videologists and photographers. But other individuals are just ‘average’ or ‘ugly’, or even ‘silly-looking’. Yet, like people of all appearances, all food is deserving of love.
At the farmers’ market, you may come across some wonky-looking produce. “Twin” squash or double carrots may show up there, although they’d never see light of day in a grocery store. Hail-marked pears or apples with russeting due to being frost-kissed are the same way. All of these items still taste delicious, although they look weird.
For farmers growing strictly for the grocery stores or wholesale market, such “ugly” produce is literally trash, and is either thrown away, thrown onto the compost heap, or fed to pigs. The sheer quantity of food wastage, however, insists that most of it gets thrown away. Thankfully, some stores in other countries like France have started to really spotlight on their “ugly” food and devote whole sections of the produce section to such lovelies.
It can be a great adventure to find weird-looking produce and competely revel in its uniqueness. Eggplants and tomatoes with noses, carrots with legs, twin plums, and more. Some can even look quite hilariously rude, if you think about it and are of that kind of mindset!
We hope you enjoy all the weird and ugly fruits you can find. How boring it would be if everyone was beautiful, after all!