What are the benefits of tropical fruits

Exotic fruits - ecologically problematic?

When it is cloudy and cold in this country, exotic fruits from the tropics are in high season. They are digestible, rich in vitamins and much easier to prepare for enjoyment than their exotic appearance suggests. But how do the exotics fare in terms of eco-balance? eBalance.ch takes a close look at it. In winter the selection of local fruits is small, but [...]


When it is cloudy and cold in this country, exotic fruits from the tropics are in high season. They are digestible, rich in vitamins and much easier to prepare for enjoyment than their exotic appearance suggests. But how do the exotics fare in terms of eco-balance? eBalance.ch takes a close look at it.

In winter the selection of local fruits is small, but more and more exotic fruits are coming into the shops. In addition to bananas and pineapples, once pure luxury in our latitudes, exotic fruits with an unusual appearance and strange-sounding names such as granadilla, mangosteen, kiwano and cherimoya are also offered today.

With their abundance of shapes and colors, they add value to every fruit bowl; if they are sufficiently ripe and eaten fresh, they are a healthy and vitamin-rich treat. They can also be used to give many dishes a special touch or to conjure up pretty decorations on the plate. They also provide a touch of holiday feeling. But the delicious fruits usually travel a long way. Most of them come from overseas and have to be embarked or flown in.

 

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Advantages and disadvantages of transportation

Air transport has the advantage that the exotic species can be harvested at an early stage. However, the ecological balance is very bad due to air transport. The high costs and environmental pollution have resulted in the majority of exotic fruits being transported by ship today. Except for all those varieties that are particularly sensitive or spoil quickly. These include, for example, baby bananas and baby pineapples, physalis, litchis, tamarillos, pitahayas, kumquats, star fruits, passion fruits and mangosteen.

By contrast, shipping by ship causes significantly fewer pollutant emissions. The still unripe harvested fruits are transported in artificially temperature-controlled containers, which can take up to three weeks by water. The fruit is then encouraged to ripen through a special gas atmosphere.

Various studies and analyzes have shown that, contrary to popular belief, the type of transport has no influence on the taste and vitamin content of the exotic fruits. The note “flying fruit” is therefore not a quality label. In principle, a seasonal choice should have top priority when shopping in order to avoid long transport and / or storage times.

Should exotic fruits be consumed?

The valuable vitamins or minerals can also be covered by domestic offers. As a sensible exception, addition or as a little change in between, exotic fruits are an exciting ingredient. However, they should by no means become a daily enjoyment. It should also be taken into account that the ecological balance of fruit and vegetables is generally better than that of many other foods. At the same time, European apples stored for several months sometimes have a negative ecological balance as, for example, fruits imported from far away. Therefore, in addition to the regionality, the seasonality is of great importance when buying fruit.

And last but not least, individual exotic fruits are also grown in Europe or other closer regions for a few months.

Claudia Müller, graduate Nutritionist HF, eBalance.ch / Image: © eBalance.ch