How do you like them apples? Because they aren’t the same apples you were eating 40 years ago (good thing too, because GROSS). A new study in waiting-room favorite Scientific Reports says climate change has made Fuji apples sweeter and softer than they used to be. So you can add “Back in my day, apples were actually crisp and tart” to your tales of walking uphill both ways barefoot in a snowstorm. Writes Nature:
[Fruit-tree specialists] found that the hardness and acidity of the apples had declined [over four decades], while their sweetness had increased. The changes may not be apparent to consumers because they took place so gradually, says [Toshihiko] Sugiura. “But if you could eat an average apple harvested 30 years before and an average apple harvested recently at the same time, you would really taste the difference,” he says.
Damn my lack of a time machine. I suppose apple flavor comparison isn’t important enough for Dr. Who.
It’s not just apples, though — wine and maple syrup also rank highly among foods that’ll likely get sweeter with the warming planet. Oh, and pears:
Gregory Jones of Southern Oregon University in Ashland, who studies the effects of climate change on wine grapes, says that the results of this and other studies — including his own unpublished work on pears — are beginning to fall into a pattern: warmer temperatures coax plants into flowering earlier and yielding riper, sweeter fruit at harvest.
So if 1970 for you wasn’t a blur of psychedelics and unfortunate polyester, think back to biting into a crunchy, lip-puckering apple. It might’ve been the last one you’ll eat for a while.
Climate change threatens crunchy, tart apples, Nature.