Spoils the barrel

Often, I write a sentence - the opening of a Tales entry, or the first line of a story, glimmering with potential - and then realize I've opened up a much larger and wormier can of worms than I thought I'd pulled off the shelf. It feels like I've rolled back the carpet in my living room and discovered a trap door I'd missed until that moment. Shall I go down there? Today I found an apple on my desk and idly wrote the following while devouring it:

It is almost unbelievable the way that apples can stay crunchy when unearthed from the forgotten deeps of your bag, or discovered hiding behind tuna fish cans in the pantry. If you cut a person off from the source of their circulation, they do not stay fresh nearly as long. 

I stopped. How the hell do apples stay fresh? Well, down we go. It turns out there are myriad  industrial processes that insure our apples stay fresh. The crispy little delights you pick up at the grocery store might have been picked almost a year ago. Several websites claim (although I couldn't find backing research) that much of the beneficial nutrition offered by apples, such as anti-oxidants, will have degraded to zero long before you have the chance to sink your teeth into them. 

Industrial food production aside, apples are still a marvel. Slice into one and it begins to deteriorate almost instantly, yet with their skin intact they're little self-contained protective entities, encapsulated in organic hazmat suits that stave off the harmful effects of oxygen. Oxygen, of course, is immensely destructive. It's amazing we don't just burst into flames and oxidize away to fine powder. Apples make their own little bubble to remain safe from its effects. And I speculate that the interior of the apple is sufficiently acidic to ward off bacterial growth - the same reason honey, despite the ample sugar it offers as bacterial food, stays uncorrupted. 

There's so, so much more to say about apples - they have a very interesting social history in the US, where for generations of rural dwellers they were almost the only sweet food people commonly ate - but for now I'm climbing back out of the hole in my living room floor and going about my business.

Incidentally, this entry was supposed to be about time travel.