Sunday, August 26, 2012

Meditation on apples and peaches with worms in them . . .

We have enjoyed a bumper harvest, so far, of peaches and apples off of one of the peach and two of the apple trees in our yard. What astonished me--at first, anyway--was the number of fruits that had worms inside.

Here are a couple where the damage is more than obvious. In fact, before I took the shot, I "simply" sloughed off the wholly rotten portions of the apples by scooping/scraping it off with the top of my thumbnail. . . .

What strikes me about the whole experience: I haven't seen worms in apples in . . . years. Probably not since I was a young boy.

Why's that?

. . . More in a moment.

So here's an apple that you know has been invaded by a worm. That's a wormhole up there at the 12:30 position (with respect to the stem).

Where did the worm go?

After cutting into a couple of apples, I formed a hypothesis that has proven almost infallible. I don't understand why, but it is true: the worms almost always head almost straight for the core. They don't generally cut "across" the apple or "across" the meat; they cut a path down and through the meat to the core:

There. You can see the "nest" in the core . . . and the "exit" from the borehole into the "nest."

Cut out the core and you see the hole. . . . And carefully chop a small chunk from the core out to and around the entrance hole and . . . 

Oh, yeah! The entire pathway. Complete with worm droppings. . . .

Okay. A few more careful slices with a rinsed knife . . . and a quick rinse with water and you have one of the tastiest apples I have had in a long, long time.

. . . And that's when it hits me: I haven't seen worms because professional apple growers have learned that consumers will ALWAYS buy worm-free apples before apples that may--or, almost always, do--contain worms. Indeed, consumers will pay a premium for such pretty apples.

So the apple producers spray the apples with pesticides. And apples are now--and have been for years--right at the top of the list of the "Dirty Dozen" foods--foods most heavily laden with pesticides. For the last two years, they have been at the very top of the list: #1 most contaminated.

I am coming to the point where I would rather deal with the worms than eat the pesticides, "thank you very much."

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