After so many hot video game takes, it’s time we took a late summer breather here at gametimebro. As August draws to a close, we’re cooling things down. We’re chewing on something sweet and juicy. Today, we’re talking fruit.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. The ballot process this time around was a beautiful mess. We saw the first ties in Rank & File history. We had some categorical disputes. We had people ranking things they’d never even experienced. We had lists two items long. Without further ado, and without any modifications to the ballots on my end as the rankings compiler – the filer? – here is our definitive collective list of fruit rankings:
|—||Granny Smith Apple|
This passes the stink test, and I’ll allow it. It’s a good list! It’s an agreeable set of fruit rankings, which is all we set out to create. But hang on. Is this really the definitive list of fruit rankings? With such an open-ended request to “rank fruits,” a number of us categorized things differently. Some stayed too broad, allowing “oranges” to stand for all orange varieties and hybrids. Some went too specific, listing the mandarin and the clementine as separate fruits when the terms are interchangeable in grocery stores, at least where I live. Some listed the plantain separate from the banana; some did the same for the nectarine and the peach. One ballot even included rankings for different types of apples and grapes at the expense of ranking “apples” and “grapes.”
What a pickle! (A pickle, by the way, is a modified cucumber, which itself is botanically a fruit – one noticeably absent from our tomato-and-olive-inclusive rankings.) Clearly, an alternative list is needed. Not to replace the definitive list, but to explore the ramifications of under- and over-categorization.
Given the ballots available, I could not attempt to split “apples” or “grapes” or “oranges” into their respective varieties and hybrids. I could only combine and absorb, leaving the broadest categories reasonably possible. Modifying the ballots and adjusting for redundancies wasn’t difficult. But where to draw the line? Surely nectarines are just peaches and blackberries are similar enough to raspberries, but what about pluots? Are they plums or are they apricots? They’re both, of course – so does their very existence force plums and apricots into the same category? Things only got messier – stickier? – when I tried to parse the citrus fruits. I learned that mandarins are a true species, and that sweet oranges are a hybrid thereof – but at least by some analyses, clementines and mandarins are closer to lemons and limes than they are to oranges, which in turn are closer to grapefruits. It was almost too much for me to bear.
Ultimately, I decided to use a taxonomic approach for the broader list. Oranges, clementines, lemons, limes, grapefruits – fuck it! They’re all Citrus anyway. And so are kumquats and tangerines and all those other derivatives. Likewise, the reason plums and apricots can make pluots is because plums and apricots are part of the Prunus genus. And so are peaches and cherries. Pits, all of them! Surely you see where I’m going here. So let’s get there already:
This, too, is a fine list. It also looks a whole lot like our original list, with the most noticeable change being grapes jumping to fourth place from sixth. Otherwise, the top ten looks largely the same on both lists. Some may take issue with the less frequently listed fruits – huckleberries, anyone? – getting dragged way up the rankings thanks to their more popular cousins and cultivars. Plantains technically share the two-spot now, which is kind of nuts. And crabapples are right there at the top. (We can also finally add cucumbers to our list, right there in twelfth along with the muskmelons. Hooray?) Remarkably, despite boasting the largest variance of any genus in our rankings, Citrus barely cracks the top ten. It seems like everyone has had grapefruits and lemons and limes and oranges, but it also seems like no one really loves them. A shame! We need to check our collective scurvy-ignoring privilege.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the individual ballots. They are, as always, significantly less than the sum of their parts. This time, more than ever, we are all showing our asses. God, we are dumb. Just so stupid, one and all. Thank God we have each other.
- Honeydew Melon
[Trevor later clarified that he mistook dates for prunes:]
Always thought dates were to plums what raisins are to grapes. I retract my “plums” submission, as I don’t believe I’ve ever had one; however, I’m keeping my “dates” in the game. Also, apparently there’s something called the “date-plum.” It’s too early in the morning to have the internet blow my mind.
Banana – Unsung hero of all fruits. Delicious. Nutritious. Portable. Comes in its own wrapper. You can eat them upside down if you want to be smug about monkey behavior (I tried this once and failed miserably). Excellent with ice cream, a staple in smoothies, and the signature banana dessert involves lighting black rum on fire. Pairs with citrus. Pairs with peanut butter. Pairs with walnuts. Pairs with chocolate. Fantastic in muffins, breads, and other baked goods – particularly once they’ve gone “bad.” Want something savory? Try the plantain variant. The banana just does it all, and then some.
Pineapple – The juice is phenomenal. The fruit, while difficult to prepare, is fantastic, whether it stands alone, mingles with lesser fruits, or complements something savory like pig flesh, fried rice, or pizza.
Apple – Fantastic and versatile, although I don’t feel the need to go into specifics, unlike with the banana. Everyone knows everything apples are capable of, from pies and other baked goods to juices, ciders, and harder spirits. Two issues. One is when they get mealy. Give me a crisp apple any day. The other is how they oxidize when you slice them. Okay one more issue – what the fuck is with people who eat the entire apple, core and all? They bring apples down.
Strawberry – King of the dessert fruits. The berries themselves can be tough to stomach after more than a few, but in ice cream? Or with shortcake? Or dipped in chocolate? Yes, yes, yes!
Blueberry – Plump and juicy, but watch out for sour stomach. Excellent in breakfast baked goods like muffins and pancakes. Also good in yogurt.
Orange – Orange juice is to fruit juice as bananas are to raw fruits. It’s the best juice. It’s refreshing when diluted with water and it’s maybe the only thing I can handle whenever my throat gets really really sore. As raw fruits go, oranges are just alright. Maybe a little more messy than they’re worth, really. Clementines are better, but since I can never tell whether clementines are distinct from oranges or just a variety thereof, I’ll put the whole family here – tangerines, blood oranges, and all.
Raspberry – A bit too tart to enjoy in large quantities, but the desserts. The desserts! Perhaps the second-best flavor that pairs with chocolate, after coffee.
Watermelon – So gloriously summery. The melons themselves are laughably big and unwieldy and messy, but you could eat a whole pound of this stuff before getting sick of the flavor or bogged down by fructose.
Lime – Underrated and too often assumed to play second fiddle to the lemon. The Persian lime (your standard go-to lime) is a hybrid of the key lime and the lemon and brings the best of both worlds to the table, sweet and sour. Can’t imagine eating one alone but their juice is a major component of cocktails and cooking alike. And key lime pie is a remarkable fruit-based dessert. Yeah, definitely top ten.
Peach – I understand the love, but these have never done a ton as a standalone fruit for me. I blame the fuzz and the pit in equal measure. As a juice, a purée, as the star of a Chick-Fil-A milkshake, though – hell yeah.
Avocado – Controversial I’m sure. I’ll leave most of the “fruits in a botanical sense only” off of my list but avocados have a rind and a pit and you don’t need to cook them to enjoy them. That’s a fruit in my book, and a damn good one. Guacamole, you guys!
Grape – I underrate these and I recognize that. Probably my favorite type of jelly, and more importantly, I dig both raisins and wine. Why can’t I embrace grapes? Is it the artificial flavor? It’s the artificial flavor, isn’t it?
Mango – I’ve honestly never prepared one, but it’s great in juice and salsa.
Lemon – See my take on limes for my abbreviated take on lemons.
Kiwi – Probably haven’t had one in twenty years, but I remember them fondly. They also pair well with strawberries, at least in juice blends.
Cranberry – Can’t imagine eating them raw, but they bring a tart element to juices and sauces otherwise unseen in the fruit world. We need cranberries, folks.
Pear – Meh. They’re fine. They just strike me as lesser apples. And recall how much I prefer a crisp apple to a soft one! The one advantage over apples I’ll grant pears is that “prosciutto and apple” isn’t a thing, as far as I know.
Passion Fruit – We’re firmly in “looks cool, sounds fun, and I know I’ve had the juice before” territory.
Dragon Fruit – Looks cooler and has a better name than passion fruit, but you know what? The juice isn’t as good. And that’s what matters.
Guava – Just a decent tropical fruit I’d be remiss to ignore.
Papaya – Slightly less appealing than a guava, and that’s before we acknowledge the chaotic seed distribution.
Grapefruit – Don’t eat these with sugar. Sugar only enhances the contrast between a grapefruit and a sweet taste. Just embrace the bitter, sour, tart, softball-sized mistake-orange for what it is. Oh and don’t use a special spoon either. Why would you ever need to use one of those?
Honeydew – Melons never did it for me. Such a nuisance to prepare, and for what? To get eaten after all the other components of a fruit salad?
Cantaloupe – Strange. I probably like these more than honeydews, but I’m definitely ranking them lower. There are things about myself I can’t explain.
Cherry – Just a garbage fruit. Possibly the worst of all artificial flavor additives, particularly in kids’ medicines, and no, I don’t want one on top of my ice cream sundae! Yes, I’m ragging mainly on the man-mutated aspects of cherries, but the real ones are all stems and pits anyway. Who needs that shit?
Blackberry – It felt wrong not to include the blackberry, but I have no blackberry takes to spare. Please note that these are not black raspberries; black raspberries are good. Blackberries just kind of are.
Apricot – Had to check to make sure this wasn’t just a type of peach. It’s not. (But the nectarine is!) Beyond that I’ve got nothing.
Date – Wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese, sure, count me in. Otherwise, thanks, but I’m all set.
Fig – Did you know every fig fruit contains the remains of a fig wasp? No joke. No Snapple cap urban legend here. All figs contain dead wasps. Still decent in cookies, and on a pizza or two, believe it or not.
Plum – Dull! Doesn’t even stand on its own in juice form. Consider, we have “prune juice,” not “plum juice.” Imagine if we had to call grape juice “raisin juice.”
Pomegranate – Preparing one of these for consumption is a Satanic ritual of sorts. Tear the flesh apart so as to eat the seeds?
We’re done here. This is as far as I go. I will not deign to rank the coconut.
35 Star fruit
[After receiving Keith’s rankings, I enjoyed the following exchange with him:]
i have never eaten a huckleberry
whats it like
but that line from tombstone
thats all i can think of too
and huckleberry hound
that was enough for me to give it #1
and the mulberry bush song is why mulberry is #2
1. Banana – This is the only fruit opinion I’ve felt strongly about before making these rankings. The banana requires no washing, with an easily peelable skin; is loaded with potassium; is mushy enough to be a quiet eat (important to me, I get paranoid about how loud I am when I eat at work); and is the perfect size for a quick snack. The only downside is the slight lack of flavor.
2. Apple – Welcome to flavor-town. There is so much goodness about the apple flavoring, especially when paired with cinnamon, it works in everything. And they’re also usually a good size – by the time you’re done with one, you’re just about at the point where you don’t want to eat an apple any more. Also, the fact that they’re shorthand for “Americana” helps. The downside is they’re very loud to eat (unless you pre-slice, which I do), and I really prefer them at a certain temperature – maybe 15 minutes after removing them from the fridge is much better than room temperature or overly chilled. So, they require a little bit of prep, for me at least.
3. Clementine – Big upset here as the clemmy is my pick for top citrus. Allow me to compare with the more popular orange. Oranges are far larger and that extra size is totally unnecessary as by the end of an orange everyone’s sick of the taste. The larger size means more work in peeling too, and much stickier hands from escaping juice. The downside to clementines is that no matter how many times I try to buy “seedless,” they always manage to have seeds, and I hate that.
4. Grapes – Strong flavoring in grapes, and I don’t discriminate between red or green. I can’t argue at all with how good they taste, and their small size makes them easy to snack on. There are some downsides though – they’re far too expensive for me to buy with any regularity, they have to be washed, they require a plastic bag to transport, and there have been too many news stories of spiders in bags of grapes that freak me out.
5. Oranges – I went over earlier the downsides of oranges, but they’re still a strong fruit. They generate a certain nostalgia for childhood soccer games, and usually when I buy seedless, there aren’t any seeds, so that’s a plus.
6. Blueberries – Fun to pick and easy to snack on, but they get old fast. Blueberries are pretty solid in breakfast pastries.
7. Watermelons – Good flavor, and it’s a nice summer staple, but overall the watermelon is far too seedy and unwieldy for me to be a big fan. The texture isn’t great either. I see no reason to buy one unless you’re having a cookout or similar event.
8. Raspberries – Mid-tier for me, I hold no strong opinion on raspberries. They’re fine. I could be convinced to put them higher or lower pretty easily.
9. Grapefruit – I’ve tried having them for breakfast a few times while on a healthy-eating kick, but I could never stick with it. They’re so messy and not that good.
10. Lemons – A fruit I would never actually eat on its own, but lemon flavoring is pretty great in almost all of its forms.
11. Strawberries – I don’t get the appeal, honestly. We all recognize that lemons and limes have a good flavor, but aren’t worth eating on their own. To me, this extends to strawberries too. People keep putting strawberries where they don’t belong (cakes).
12. Pineapple – Basically the same as the strawberry reasoning.
13. Limes – I don’t think I’ve ever eaten or drank something lime-flavored that wasn’t also lemon-flavored. It needs to be propped up by a stronger fruit. (Think about it.) Okay, I just remembered key lime pie and Bud Light Lime-a-Rita, neither of which have convinced me to slot this any higher.
14. Pears – I had a pear once, and that was enough. Embarrassing wannabe apples.
There are so many fruits I’ve never really tried out though that this has reminded me of. I’ve had cherries and mangoes before but I don’t know where to rank them, so I left them off. But guava, kiwi, passionfruit – I need to branch out a bit.
1. Apple – An apple is probably has the most depth of any of the fruits. First off, an in-season apple is great to bite into in the fall. But the apple is also very versatile. It’s great on its own, in an apple pie, in applesauce, sautéed on top of pork chops, in a warm cider, a cold cider, a hard cider… I could go on more but you get the point. It has so many different uses. It also has a great smell. An apple-scented candle or the smell of an apple pie in the oven is a very comforting smell. It warms you up on a cold fall day. I know this all probably sounds cheesy, but that’s how it feels to me!
2. Peach – Peach is the fruit of the summer. Like an apple, it tastes good on its own AND tastes great in other forms – grilled peaches with meat, a peach salsa, put them in salads, peach cobbler, peach bellini. A peach is what you go to to make many light summer dishes. And let’s not forget on it’s own… it’s so juicy and sweet. Great to bite into in the summer.
3. Strawberries – A close second ot peach in terms of best summer fruits. I rank this after the peach because I enjoy the taste of peaches on their own more than strawberries and peaches seem to have slightly more uses than a strawberry. BUT let’s not forget the things you can do with strawberries – a salad with goat cheese and strawberries, strawberries in cereal, on top of ice cream, a strawberry rhubarb pie, covered in chocolate. As I’m writing this I’m racking my brain for more uses of strawberries which further confirms that I personally rank peaches higher than strawberries. But strawberries are great and they are my number three.
4. Grapes – Grapes are fruit candy. Once I start eating them I can’t stop. They’re so sweet and are really easy to eat because of their size. You don’t need to cut them up or have tons of napkins around to clean up your mess. I rank cherries next for nearly the same reasons. BUT grapes get a slightly higher ranking because grapes turn into wine. That is all.
5. Cherries – Cherries are also fruit candy and I like them for all the reasons I like grapes.
6. Raspberries – More fruit candy. Also dark chocolate and raspberry is one of my favorite dessert combos.
7. Mango – A mango is good for actually many of the reasons I mentioned for the peach. The only reason I have it a few spots down is because it just takes more preparation! That damn pit in the middle just gets in the way. Also, I find I go to a mango more in the winter than the summer. The peaches are just so good in the summer that I always go to them instead.
8. Nectarine – Ranking this mostly on taste as I don’t use nectarines in much else other than throwing them in a salad.
9. Blueberries – On their own, they’re not my favorite fruit. BUT they are a great flavor in baked things. I love a blueberry pie or a blueberry cobbler. I love blueberry-flavored things. So for that reason it’ll still make the top ten.
10. Pear – one of my go to winter fruits. It’s really good in winter salads too with some blue cheese or brie. Also very good with prosciuotto and is one of the few fruits other than a grape that can make a good wine.
|1||Apple||1||1||1||A classic New England fruit that reminds me of my favorite season, is good and easy to eat, and wonderful to bake with.|
|2||Watermelon||1||3||2||This is the best summer fruit. I don’t even care that I can’t use it for anything else. It’s so delicious.|
|3||Raspberry||1||1||2||One of the few summer fruits that I find pleasing to eat on its own and bake with.|
|4||Blueberry||2||1||2||Blueberries are fine to eat. They are a pleasant addition to cocktails. However they truly shine when baking. Tied with apples for the best baking ingredient|
|5||Grape||1||3||2||Such a great snacking fruit. Also a favorite for the addition to salads.|
|6||Canataloupe||1||3||3||A bit controversial here, but this is my second favorite summer fruit. I love it in fruit salads and don’t pick around it like most. However, that is really all it is good for.|
|7||Banana||1||1||3||I was a banana hater up until a year ago so this leap is a big one for me. It’s really easy to eat, very nutritious, and makes some pretty great breads.|
|8||Pomegranate||1||2||1||Pomegranate seeds are just to fun and tasty. I think this might be too high but I also enjoy them so much! You can put them in savory food like quinoa salads (how trendy), eat them on their own, flavor cocktails with their juices, the possibilities are limitless!|
|9||Pear||1||2||2||My third favorite handheld fruit. Hard to find ripe though.|
|10||Strawberry||2||1||2||Shocker! I’m not a big fan of strawberries. I enjoy a good strawberry shortcake, but I will only eat strawberries when dipped in sugar. They are okay. Props for a good smoothie addition though.|
|11||Pineapple||2||3||2||I’ve grown to like pineapple more but in a fruit salad it’s usually near the bottom of the barrel for me. I also don’t love pineapple based cocktails. I however can respect the pineapple.|
|12||Cranberry||3||1||1||Ah the cranberry. I’m a big fan of cranberry juice. I think cranberries are a lovely winter fruit and great when used in baking. Cranberry sauce is great. It’s only middle of the road because fruits are DEEP.|
|13||Peach||2||2||3||I enjoy the taste of peaches, it’s just not my go to fruit for eating plain or baking. However when I do use it, it’s generally lovely. Minus points for having to peel before baking|
|14||Clementine||2||3||3||These are sweeter versions of oranges which I support. I don’t drink orange juice. I don’t generally bake with orange. They are only food for eating AND you have to peel them so they dropped a bit.|
|15||Honeydew||2||3||3||We have found the bottom of the fruit salad barrel. Sorry honeydew, you are bland.|
|16||Blood Orange||3||2||1||Only good for flavoring cocktails and making a mess.|
|17||Blackberry||3||2||3||The only place I would put this is a mixed berry smoothie. Too seedy.|
|18||Mango||3||3||3||Far too difficult to cut.|
|21||Orange||3||2||2||I don’t think I like oranges. Maybe this is something I got in my head a while ago.|
|22||Coconut||3||2||3||I don’t even know if this is a fruit. It has tropical vibes. I only like it in the smallest amounts.|
|24||Grapefruit||3||2||3||DOUBLE BLECH. Can’t get over the taste.|
[Marissa has graded each fruit on three different criteria, with 1 being the best grade and 3 being the worst. These grades do not appear to directly influence her final rankings.]
|29||Granny Smith Apple|
[Kelsey insists that the black grape is distinct from the red grape, that the difference between the black grape and the green grape is night and day, that the same is true of the peach and the nectarine, and that the Gala and Granny Smith are the best and worst apples respectively. Upon request, she declined to rank “apples” or “grapes” without differentiating.]
1. Bananas – I love them. They’ve got potassium. They give me energy so there are real bonuses and they taste amazing. Plus, banana bread is absolutely divine. Plus, fried bananas?
2. Kiwis – I think they are underrated and delicious.
3. Blueberries – Great for you and delicious on their own or in muffins and pie.
4. Watermelon – Summertime win.
5. Grapes – Such a casual fruit. Excellent on their own and in jams. Plus – raisins.
6. Cantaloupe and Honeydew – If they’re good, they’re great. If they’re bad, they’re awful, which is why they get 6.
7. Apples – I’m allergic to them but I have too many fond memories of picking them. It’s worth it to put them here.
8. Tomatoes – Yes, they’re a fruit and to be honest, I probably enjoy them more than melons and apples but it seems weird to just rank them that high on the list of “fruits” but they are a true fruit and we can’t forget about them – pizza, pasta, salad caprese, the list goes on and on.
9. Raspberries and blackberries – Underrated in my opinion but really quite good. Also, jam is phenomenal.
10. Peaches and plums – I’m highly allergic to both but man, they’re delicious. Plus, great dried fruits.
I hastily made this but I think it’s pretty accurate.
Fun Fact: Olives are a fruit!? My excuse about how olive oil is a sort of a vegetable oil is now debunked and that cake just sucked.
This may be the quickest list I have pulled together, and that is saying something based on the speed at which I have pulled together others. But I have added color.
Apple (Don’t have time to get into types, but the gold standard)
Grape (So easy to eat)
Watermelon (So simple, yet so refreshing)
Pineapple (Fresh is best, but don’t let the mouth bleed)
Clementine (So much fun to eat)
Avocado (Great on sandwiches, and a good fat?)
Strawberries (So versatile)
Blueberry (Simple, easy to eat, not much flavor)
Banana (I want to like bananas more)
Orange (Tasty but basically a hard to eat clementine, but damn I loved them as youth soccer fuel)
Lemon (Good for cooking)
Lime (Good for mexican cooking)
Plum (underrated – like an apple)
Dragonfruit (Coolest look)
Honeydew (Growing on me)
Cantelope (Growing on me slower)
Raspberries (I have a love hate relationship here and I’m in a cool down period right now)
Peach (Struggling to remember the fresh peach flavor, so I put it here)
Pomegranate (Flavor places it higher, but too hard to eat)
Cranberry (Good, but here)
Cherry (Don’t want to deal with pits)
Grapefruit (Doesn’t do it for me)
End of list
Tomato sauce is great
But tomatoes as is are nasty
This has been Rank & File, the list-ammalgamating feature in which no bro’s take is too bad to contribute to the greater good.