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Fruits: It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between vegetables and fruits. For instance, the tomato is in reality a fruit, but it is commonly used as a vegetable, and rhubarb is more of a vegetable than a fruit, but it is always used as a fruit. It can therefore be seen that the line between vegetables and fruits is not clearly drawn. It is well to remember that fruit is usually the edible pulpy mass covering the seeds of various plants and trees, and that it is generally cooked or eaten raw with sugar, whereas vegetables are seldom sweetened in cooking. Great strides have been made in the cultivation of fruit. Many varieties that formerly grew wild are now commonly cultivated.
Most of the cultivated fruits are superior to the same kind in the wild state, at least in size and appearance, but often there seems to be a loss of flavor. Through cultivation, some fruits that were almost inedible in their wild state on account of containing so many seeds have been made seedless. Also, through cross-cultivation, varieties of fruit different from what formerly existed have been obtained. An example of such fruit is the loganberry which is a cross between a red raspberry and a blackberry and retains many of the qualities of each. However, some small fruits, such as blueberries, or huckleberries, are still grown wild and marketed only from their wild source.
While fruit is usually improved by cultivation, there has been a tendency through this means to produce fruits that will stand up for long periods of time, so that they may be marketed at great distances from the place where they are grown. For instance, apples, especially those found in the market in the spring, and other fruits, which look very fine, will many times be found to have a tough skin and to be almost tasteless. In general, fruits of delicate flavor and texture cannot be kept very long after they have ripened.
To stand shipping, they must be picked in their green stage; then if they are kept in the right temperature they will ripen after picking. Bananas that are to be shipped a long distance are picked when perfectly green, but by the time the consumer buys them they are usually well ripened. In addition to bananas, a few other tropical fruits are shipped out of their native climates in small numbers and are sold at very high prices.
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