The Triton

Crew Life

Perfect solutions to imperfect produce are to blend, cut, mash


The phrase “it’s what’s inside that counts” certainly applies to fruits and vegetables. Yet, since we eat with our eyes, it’s the picture perfect produce that grower’s ship, retailers stock and customers select.

There’s a movement under way that puts “ugly” produce in the spotlight. This trend is not only better for the planet, but for people, too. It inspires us to eat more of these great-tasting foods every day. It’s not just the beauty queens, it’s the plain Janes and even misshapen monsters whose hearts offer just as much disease-preventing nutrients.

Forty percent of the food grown in the United States ends up in the trash, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York City-based non-profit environmental advocacy group. As a food group, fruits and vegetables rank highest in waste, with only 48 percent consumed. This compares to 62 percent, 78 percent and 80 percent for grains, meats and milk, respectively.

And it’s not just Americans who are wasteful. The Bristol, U.K.-based Soil Association estimates that 20 to 40 percent of produce grown in those countries is rejected for cosmetic reasons, primarily because it is misshapen.

Problems with this waste are two-fold. First, discarding produce also means throwing away the scarce land and water resources used to grow it, not to mention the belching of methane that’s emitted when fruits and vegetables rot in landfills.

Second, folks in the industrialized world don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. In fact, a UK study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health in 2014, which surveyed 65,000-plus people over 12 years, found that when compared to eating less than one serving of fruits or vegetables daily, the risk of death by any cause was reduced 14 percent by eating 1-3 servings, 29 percent for 3-5 servings, 36 percent for 5-7 servings and 42 percent for seven or more servings.

Nothing but perfect-looking produce may soon become a thing of the past. PHOTO/DEAN BARNES

Nothing but perfect-looking produce may soon become a thing of the past. PHOTO/DEAN BARNES

Retailers on both sides of the pond are bucking this tide by putting what they call “ugly” fruits and vegetables on their shelves. In the U.S., Raley’s Family of Fine Stores based in West Sacramento, Calif., debuted its Real Good produce program earlier this year in partnership with Imperfect Produce, a company that specifically sources and sells what it calls cosmetically challenged yet culinary-sound fruits and vegetables. The chain has been able to sell items like plums, pears and peppers for as much as 30 percent cheaper than its perfect-looking counterparts.

Intermarche, the third largest supermarket chain in France, launched its Inglorious Fruit and Vegetable campaign in 2014. Advertisements featured poster children such as “the ugly carrot”, “the grotesque apple”, and “the ridiculous potato”. These ugly ducklings were showcased in their own aisle and for a significant (30 percent or more) cost savings. The campaign was so popular that five competing supermarket chains started similar programs of their own.

The real point is that if you’re blending carrots, cutting up apples or mashing potatoes, it doesn’t really matter what a fruit or vegetable looks like on the outside. It’s what’s on the inside – the taste and nutrients – that counts.

Here are three tasty ways to add “ugly” produce to your diet:

  1. Blend: Fruits and vegetables of all types taste great in smoothies. Try berries, bananas, greens, citrus and winter squash.
  2. Cut: Chop, dice and mince fresh produce and add to soups, salads and sandwiches. In addition to misshapen items, this is a good way to use up fruits and vegetables with blemishes or decay spots that can be easily removed.
  3. Mash: Potatoes are the star for this cooking method. Try this with yams and hard squash, too. Mash cooked cauliflower or carrots in with potatoes, yams or squash for extra flavor.

Carol Bareuther is a registered dietitian and freelance health and nutrition writer. Contact her through

Related Articles

Diesel Digest: Hybrid propulsion helps yachts set course for a greener future

Diesel Digest: by Capt. Jeff Werner “AUGSBURG, Germany – Last year, the French submarine Aigrette was launched with diesel electric propulsion. MAN built the diesel engine for that underwater …

Celebrate 12 years with The Triton at April’s Expo

Celebrate 12 years with The Triton at April’s Expo

Every April, The Triton gets a year older and, hopefully, wiser. We like to take this time to celebrate our anniversary (this month begins our 12th year publishing The Triton) and celebrate with our …

Mate bitten by shark in Queensland

Mate bitten by shark in Queensland

The first mate aboard M/Y DeLisle III was bitten by a shark while in the waters of the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia, on March 25. Several online media report that Ryan …

Capt. Ryan O’Meara dies in the Bahamas

Capt. Ryan O’Meara dies in the Bahamas

By Dorie Cox Capt. Ryan O’Meara loved the water, his yacht crew, and his work on M/Y Pipe Dream, a 112-foot Westport. He was in the midst of it all when he died of a heart attack in Chub Cay in …

National Marine Suppliers to open at Bahia Mar

National Marine Suppliers is scheduled to open a new location at Bahia Mar in Ft. Lauderdale on Sept. 1.The store will stock many basic and common yacht supplies such as soaps and cleaners, nuts and …

West Marine welcomes new CEO

West Marine welcomes new CEO

California-based boating retailer West Marine has hired Doug Robinson as CEO. Robinson has 30 years of specialty retailing experience, most recently with Lowe’s, where he was president of …