Israel is Returning Taste to Fruit

Created: 2012-09-15 01:02 EST

Category: Life


The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture is taking very seriously consumers' complaints that the taste of fruit has greatly changed over the years, and that today it seems to be closer to the taste of plastic.
The Israeli Agricultural Research Administration joined the Ministry's Agricultural extension service in an open day.
They presented to the general public fruit species that have been developed in the framework of a new project called "Returning the taste to fruit."
How does one improve a species, and what actually determine the taste of a fruit?
[Tirtza Zehavi, Agricultural Extension Service]:
"This is a defined group of materials which we are trying to instill through hybridization; not any genetic engineering, nothing like that. We are experimenting by intentional cross-breeding to instill them also to other species."
During the open day, visitors were invited to take part in tasting surveys and give their impressions.
Their opinions were added to those of the professional tasters' team of the Research Administration.
[Avinoam Daos, Research Practical Engineer in the Agricultural Research Administration]:
"Someone came up with the idea to use the masses of visitors coming today to the Administration on this Show Day, and let them do taste checks on new species of fruit and vegetables."
For example, the visitors were asked to grade on a 1 to 9 scale the flavor of a mango, its fiber quantity, texture, and additional qualities, such as its aroma.
It appears that today's consumers are looking also for ease, they prefer grapes to have no seeds, and be big, tasty and sweet.
[Tirtza Zehavi, Agricultural Extension Service]:
"The taste is certainly coming back. The market says they want in addition to no seeds and the size, that the fruit be tasty. There's no doubt about that, there's no compromise."
The date, the fruit of the palm tree, is mentioned also in ancient scriptures.
But which of the species known today grew in this region 2 thousand years ago?
[Haim Oren, Agricultural Extension Service]:
"Recently we received a species that was brought here from Saudi Arabia. The species is called Anbara and it is particularly big. Professor Kislev from the Bar-Illan University claims it is the same species that grew in Israel 2,000 years ago."
The professor found reference in the scriptures.
[Haim Oren, Agricultural Extension Service]: (male, Hebrew)
"It's written there that the species that grew in Israel was as big as an egg."
Some years ago Israel was a leading exporter of citrus, but over the years other countries whose prices were lower took the lead.
So how can Israeli farmers win markets and make a good living?
It seems that a tangerine with an excellent taste, that in addition peels easily, is the answer.
[Shuki Kanonitz, Agricultural Extension Service]: (male, Hebrew)
"In the last decade we've risen again due to a species that is unusually tasty, called OR, which today is considered to be the best tangerine in the world. It is in great demand."
Fruit can be used for other purposes besides eating - artists can produce sculptures of them for exhibits...before they are eaten!
NTD News, Israel