Seasonal fruit troubles
So, right now it is apple, pear, quince, and persimmon season (more or less).
No fruit I buy is ripening properly! I've been buying persimmons, but they just stay hard! And they're $1.30 EACH! Last year, I don't remember them costing that much, and they ripened in at most 3 days! What's going on? These are organic persimmons, which I was NOT looking for and does sort of explain the price, but still $1.30 each? And a while ago (like ten days) I bought non-organic ones for $2.00 each, and those didn't ripen either! I have to do the apple-paper bag thing every time. What's the deal?
And quinces are $1.60 each! And I'm pretty sure they're not organic. Quince trees are just as productive (per tree) as apples, and actually are HARDIER in terms of disease, etc. (I'm pretty sure, anyway) So why so much money?
And I bought a couple of cherimoyas the other day, and they won't ripen either! And whenever I buy mangos, they very often don't ripen! And why is it they sell cherimoyas which have to be shipped from California, and very often even New Zealand, with an end price of $2 per, but its close relative, the pawpaw, is a very tough and easy-to-grow tree, and bears very similar fruit, is no where to be seen? See, it's stuff like this that convinces me that you "organic" people are just fad-obsessed idiots with too much money on your hands, trying to find a way to show off to each other with all the over-priced B.S. you can buy - like a country club.
Anyway, preachiness aside. Why are these fruits costing so much this year? And why won't the persimmons ripen? Did something happen to the persimmon crops in California this year? Maybe it's just too early for persimmons? And the mangos and cherimoyas? For these latter two, I'm assuming it's either from refrigeration killing the ripening process or irradiation doing the same, but these cherimoyas are from California (so I'm guessing legally doesn't need to be irradiated).
And speaking of cherimoyas, does anyone know if fresh guanabanas or atemoyas are sold in NYC?
Fruit is costing more for one reason because of gasoline prices. That's an argument for buying locally grown produce. I realize there may not be many persimmon farms on the east coast, but still, you run the risk with fruits from 3,000 miles away that something happened in transit. Re the non-ripening issue, don't feel bad about the paper bag trick. I have to do it sometimes with locally grown tomatoes.
you're right about the persimmon farm thing, except that it doesn't have to be that way, since there is an american species of persimmon that is indigenous to and hardy in the East/Northeast. The fruits are basically the same as the oriental persimmon, except usually smaller and seedier (but this is because there hasn't been much breeding done on this species). Cool huh?
Quinces are like apples, I think - they don't ripen after they're picked.
To choose a good quince, smell the skin. If you don't smell much, put it back. If it smells really floral or perfume-y, go for it. I like to store my quinces on the counter, because they make the whole kitchen smell great.
My guess is that quinces are expensive because they're uncommon and highly seasonal. This year's weather problems probably aren't helping. But $1.60 each? Ouch!
What kind of persimmons are they? There are two, arguably three varieties. If the persimmons are flat and tomato shaped (fuyu), they are supposed to be crisp. If they are pointy and acorn shaped (hachiya), those are the types that soften.
But neither one is supposed to be tannic when eaten. I've read that keeping them in a sealed environment for a few days will help--ie tupperware. Google "Harold McGee", the guy talks about persimmons ripening in one of his popular food science books, highly recommended reading btw, he has been discussed many times here on CH.