NEW YORK -- Scientists say they have determined that the ages-old stricture against comparing apples and oranges is based on urban legend and not scientific fact.
A large-scale study published in the peer-reviewed journal Plantset, concludes that the two commodities are indeed directly comparable. Lead investigators Peter M. Holzapfiel of SUNY Cortland, Rodrigo Arbol of Florida State University’s Study Center in Valencia, Spain and Anthony Spettro of Columbia University are to present the pronged study at a conference in a city still to be named.
“We wanted to find a country where neither apples nor oranges are grown,” Holzapfel said. “We want to be on neutral territory when we present our data live.”
Researchers say they have reached two major conclusions. First, Apples and Oranges are spherical fruit that grows on trees in moderate to subtropical climates, and propagate using seeds. Second, the average color of an apple measures 614 nanometers on the color wavelength scale and the average color of an orange measures 620 nm.
Dr. Spettro, who performed the color measurements for the study, says “the difference in color is only a handful of nanometers on the huge spectrum of color waves and frequencies.”
While the lead researchers say they don’t expect people to stop misusing this example, others do.
Professor Peter Roget-McGill of Edinburgh University and a descendent of the author of the first thesaurus, suggests comparing one or another of the fruits with an inanimate object or gas.
“I think comparing Oranges with Cinderblocks has a nice ring to it,” he said, “or perhaps apples and hydrogen.”
Both apple and orange growers have expressed approval of the new study. Max Arthur of Watkins Glen, NY is the fourth generation of his family to grow apples in the region. Arthur says “They keep labeling the comparison as wrong is unfair to both fruits. Reese Keller of Winter Park Florida, a relative newcomer to the orange growing community says he’s “pleased not to have to deal with this fake contradiction.”
Lead researcher Holzapfel says “It’s going to take some doing to rid people of this awful phrase. But our statistics should eventually put the whole thing to rest. I don’t know how it came about in the first place. It’s just one of those annoying phrases we can’t seem to free ourselves from.”
And Columbia’s Dr. Spettro adds “Look, spectral analysis doesn’t lie. These colors are right next to each other on the wavelength chart. It’s about time people got a good dose of reality.”
And apples and oranges mix just fine. Ask anyone with a juicer, a Ninja blender or a Nutribullet.
--We have all three of the above named appliances. They were listed in order of difficulty to clean, starting with the hardest. But whatever one uses, fresh fruit or veggie drinks taste wonderful with any meal and making them yourself is more fun than buying it from the supermarket.
--Making your own juice is kind of like playing the role of a mad scientist. There are a million recipes. But making one up as you go along makes you feel like a budding nutritionist, which, in fact, you are.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014