What do apples, quince and pears all have in common? They’re all pome fruits! The word pome is derived from Latin translation of the word “fruit”. This fruit family is borne from flowering plants in the Rosaceae, or rose, family.
If you’ve ever wondered, “what kind of fruit is this?”, FruitStand is here to help. Starting at the top, fruits are the edible, reproductive parts of a plant. It’s the fleshy part that surrounds the seeds in one way or another. In contrast, vegetables are any other edible part of a plant besides fruit, such as roots, shoots and leaves.
From there, fruits are divided into four, sometimes five, families: pomes (pears, loquats), citrus (lemons, yuzu), stone fruits (apricots, peaches), and berries (blueberries, tomatoes). Sometimes melons are separated into their own fam, but otherwise they’re considered big ol’ berries. Just about any fruit falls into one of these categories based on botanical properties like the way it grows and how their seeds develop.
Can you tell we’re really into fruit? Keep reading to learn all about the pome fruit family!
Pomes are a diverse fruit family that have been enjoyed by humans for what seems to be forever. Many are eaten raw as nature’s candy, others are cooked into jams, confections and glazes. These types of fruit are also known for being the perfect fruit to brew into ciders (both hard and soft) and made into juices.
A pome fruit grows in such a way where many carpels (aka ovaries) and parts of the flower fuse together to form fruit that carries the plant’s seed. In contrast, a berry grows from a single flower that has a single, simple ovary.
Pomes are also considered accessory fruits. Our botanist friends consider accessory fruits to be those that grow from the plant’s carpels in addition to other parts of the flower. Whereas some fruits mature from just one carpel in a flower, accessory fruits incorporate other parts of the flower into its development.
If you slice a pome fruit in half, you’ll see the familiar core, flesh, skin and calyx formation that pomes share. The fruit’s core forms as carpels grow and fuse together. This is called the endocarp, and includes the seeds and hard, translucent casing around them. The mesocarp, or fleshy, delicious part of the fruit, begins to grow more fully the core as the fruit matures. The skin of the pome fruit is botanically referred to as the epicarp, and the bellybutton at the bottom is known as a calyx.
Apples and pears are popular examples of pome fruit. Other pomes include nashi or Asian pears, other pear species, loquats, rowans, quince, toyon and medlars. And guess what? A pomegranate isn’t a pome at all. It’s a botanical berry!
Pome fruits are typically harvested in the late summer and early fall. For the most part, pomes grow on deciduous trees, which shed their leaves in the early fall. That’s why autumn is the prime season for apple pies and poached pears!
Geeking out on fruit is what we love most. That’s why FruitStand hand picks their small, specialty farm partners to bring you extraordinary and hard to find fruits directly to you. Keep an eye on FruitStand.com to be the first to know when we’re shipping rare pome fruit harvests!