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AKABAS | A Definitive Ranking of Fruits

Alicia Wang | Sun Sketch Artist

Fruit has been on everyone’s mind throughout history. According to the Bible, the only reason humans even have the mental capacity to think about fruit was because Adam ate a fruit. During the Dutch Renaissance, painters literally just painted bowls of fruit, which was the 1600s equivalent of Instagramming your food. In the present day, nearly everyone I told about this article had strong feelings; people like fruit and are surprisingly opinionated about fruit.

So to clear things up once and for all, I’ve generated a definitive ranking of fruits.


What Counts as a Fruit, Anyway?

Not all fruits can be included. Here’s a few that missed the cut:

Avocados, tomatoes, etc. — I love ‘em, but they’re not fruits. @person who’s about to write a scientific comment about seeds and whatnot, we all know that they’re technically fruits — you’re not smarter than everyone else — but we also all know what someone’s talking about when they say “fruit,” and a cucumber is not that.
Starfruit, pluots, etc. — I don’t even know what these are.

The overarching rule: if you’d be surprised to find it in a fruit salad, it’s out.


The Methodology

I sent out a poll via Facebook asking people to rate every fruit (28 varieties to be exact) on a scale of 1-10 for a popularity score. Then, I gave each fruit an additional score in each of the four following categories:

Tastiness: How tasty is the fruit at its peak (i.e., how badly would you want to taste a piece of fruit if you were told it was the best _______ in the world)? Pretty simple, but the idea of “peak” is important.

Consistency: How much does quality vary across different instances of the fruit? For example, bananas are basically all the same. Peaches, on the other hand, vary from divine to “I’d rather starve.”   

Easiness to Eat: The necessity of a kitchen for consumption has to be a factor. The scores (out of 5) are pretty well-defined. A 0 is inedible, a 1 requires a kitchen, a 2 requires a knife, a 3 doesn’t require utensils but is annoying, a 4 requires a little effort, and a 5 is perfectly easy. Blueberries should probably be a 6.

Versatility: How many uses (and how many important uses) does the fruit have? One point each for use in ice cream / sorbet, yogurt, fresh juice, smoothies, pies / cakes, other desserts, and dinner foods, with three points left over for miscellaneous uses (like grapes for wine). We’re concerned with only food-related uses — whatever Timothee Chalamet does with that peach in Call Me By Your Name does not affect the fruit’s ranking on my list.

Overall Score = (Popularity * 3 + Tastiness * 1.5 + Consistency + Versatility + Easiness to Eat) * 10/7


Introducing The Fruit Matrix

Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Fruit Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself:

Fruit Graph 1 Take 2

Fruit Graph 2

Fruit Graph Key

Graphs by Janette Park ’21

For both of these matrices, we want our fruits to be as close to the upper right hand corner as possible. The reason Tastiness and Consistency are paired together is that if a fruit is going to vary a lot in quantity, then a good one better be really good. The reason Versatility and Easiness to Eat are paired together is that if a fruit is going to be hard to eat straight up, then it better be usable for other things.


The Ranking

28. Papaya

Overall Score: 33.0
Taste: 2
Consistency: 6
Versatility: 2
Easiness: 1
Popularity: 3.7

Papaya sucks, and everyone knows it. The only things it should ever be used for are smoothies and throwing at Donald Trump when he gives a “speech.”

To clarify, any fruit could, and should, be used for throwing at Donald Trump, but I think papaya would be the second most embarrassing to get hit by (after pineapple)… more embarrassing than another fruit of similar size because, if people asked you how you got your black eye, you’d have to explain to them that you got hit in the face with a f***ing papaya.

27. Honeydew

Overall Score: 34.7
Taste: 3
Consistency: 4
Versatility: 1
Easiness: 1
Popularity: 4.6

“Honeydew is the ‘diet, grocery store brand soda’ of fruit.” – Gabe P.
“Cantaloupe and honeydew are the Kix cereal of fruits.” – Jon B.
“Honeydew… more like honeyPOO.” – Abram S.
“I wish I could have given Honeydew a lower score.” – Samuel K.
“Honeydew is the worst fruit.” – Itai G.
“As Bojack Horseman says, ‘No one likes honeydew!’” – Charlie R.
“Honeydew is literally only put into a fruit salad because of its unique color. It’s benefiting from affirmative action.” – Jake B.

From my personal experience, this is what a fruit platter looks like before a party starts, and this is what a fruit platter looks like after the party’s over. And this isn’t just my personal experience. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans consume five pounds of cantaloupe for every pound of honeydew, and cantaloupe isnt even good.

26. Cantaloupe

Overall Score: 41.1
Taste: 4
Consistency: 4
Versatility: 1
Easiness: 1
Popularity: 5.6

There are three ways to consume a cantaloupe. The third best way is to cut it into chunks and eat them with a fork, the second best way is to scoop it out with a spoon, and the best way is to leave it and let someone else eat it.                              

Note: My brother Tal writes, “All fruits (with the sole exception of a banana) are better cut up. FACT. One should never eat a fruit not cut up if you can avoid it.” I think cantaloupe and honeydew are also exceptions, but he’s right for every single other fruit, especially pears and apples, which somehow feel like they taste better when they’re cut up. Yes, I know that’s impossible, but thinly sliced cheddar cheese somehow tastes better than cheddar cheese chunks. The world is full of mysteries.

25. Passionfruit

Overall Score: 44.3
Taste: 5
Consistency: 5
Versatility: 4
Easiness: 1
Popularity: 4.5

Gets a boost because of Drake and its usability in smoothies (solid Chobani flavor, too), but I just can’t rank a fruit that’s filled with the slime from Men in Black any higher than this. I’m sorry. I will not do it.

24. Guava

Overall Score: 45.6
Taste: 6
Consistency: 4
Versatility: 4
Easiness: 2
Popularity: 4.3

“Guava is basically like a dry apple with small seeds. If it ranks especially high, it’s because people are confusing the fruit (boring and rather tasteless) with the juice (delicious somehow).” – Joelle F.

Don’t worry Joelle, it did not rank especially high.

23. Apricot

Total Score: 49.4
Taste: 6
Consistency: 3
Versatility: 3
Easiness: 4
Popularity: 5.2

“The apricot can kindly go f*** itself.” – Anonymous

When it comes to my feelings about apricots, I couldn’t have put it better than Larry David. The nicest thing I can say about apricots is that they are really good dried. That’s also the nicest thing I can say about towels.

22. Kiwi

Overall Score: 52.1
Taste: 6
Consistency: 5
Versatility: 4
Easiness: 2
Popularity: 5.5

Kiwis are great when mixed with strawberries, but pretty forgettable otherwise, which is basically the same relationship that Mike Miller and James Jones had with LeBron James.

21. Lime

Overall Score: 52.7
Taste: 4
Consistency: 8
Versatility: 7
Easiness: 0
Popularity: 5.3

“Limes only because tequila shots!” – Michael S.

Key lime pie is also great, but ultimately, limes are inferior lemons. I should point out that limes are a key player in what is hands-down the best Gatorade flavor (Lemon-Lime) and possibly the most underrated Gatorade flavor (Cucumber Lime), but a ranking of Gatorade flavors is another article for another time.

20. Grapefruit

Overall Score: 54.6
Taste: 8
Consistency: 6
Versatility: 3
Easiness: 1
Popularity: 5.4

Besides being a key ingredient in some cocktails, grapefruits are useless. Tasty, but useless. Also annoying. I grew up in a household of four children whose ages spanned 10 years, meaning my parents woke up at 6:30a.m. every single weekday for about a quarter of a century to send children off to school (which is legitimately incredible). On top of that, my dad woke up especially early to prepare breakfast for the family, which often included grapefruit halves. He would carefully cut around each individual section so that we could just scoop out the sections easily with a spoon. Growing up, I had no idea he did this. I assumed grapefruit was a dream fruit, which I would have realized was ridiculous if I had thought about it for even one second, but I never did.

My first Cornell breakfast at Appel Dining Hall, lo and behold, I learned that grapefruit sections are not cut out on their own! Turns out grapefruits are a massive pain in the behind, and my dad is the best.

19. Nectarine

Overall Score: 57.6
Taste: 7
Consistency: 4
Versatility: 3
Easiness: 3
Popularity: 6.6

Nectarines are sweet and refreshing. But I would never choose to eat a nectarine over a peach — the flesh is not quite as rich, it’s smaller, and it doesn’t have the cool, fuzzy exterior. It’s like trying to judge any Liam Neeson action movie that isn’t Taken. Run All Night is an entertaining film with solid veteran performances and a decent story, but I would never rewatch it instead of Taken.

18. Lemon

Total Score: 59.0
Taste: 5
Consistency: 8
Versatility: 9
Easiness: 0
Popularity: 5.6

At first, this ranking seemed high. Then my mom got triggered and told me about how all the dishes she made during my childhood used lemon juice, and now I think it’s too low. Lemons are more important than many of the remaining fruits on this list. Think about it this way: suppose a higher power comes to you in a dream and tells you that you have to choose either cherries or lemons to disappear from the earth. If you don’t pick cherries, you’re a moron. Lemon meringue pie, lemonade, lemon ice, lemon zest, lemon in salad dressings, and much more render the fact that you can’t eat the lemon itself almost insignificant.

17. Plum

Overall Score: 59.2
Taste: 7
Consistency: 6
Versatility: 3
Easiness: 4
Popularity: 6.0

Plums are fine. They’re pretty consistently fine. And they’re used in plum cake, which is usually fine. Although the contrast between the firm outside and meaty inside is occasionally spectacular, nobody has ever said, “Oh my gosh, yesterday I had the most amazing plum!” This distribution just screams mediocrity:

Plum

16. Pear

Overall Score: 60.1
Taste: 9
Consistency: 2
Versatility: 4
Easiness: 4
Popularity: 6.2

Getting a really good one is something of a spiritual experience, but pears almost always leave me disappointed.

15. Cherries

Overall Score: 61.3
Taste: 6
Consistency: 7
Versatility: 5
Easiness: 3
Popularity: 6.3

At the end of the day, they’re just annoying grapes.

14. Pomegranate

Overall Score: 62.9
Taste: 6
Consistency: 7
Versatility: 5
Easiness: 1
Popularity: 6.5

“If you need a kitchen to eat it, it shouldn’t be above a 7 overall.” – Shoshana A.

The fresh-squeezed juice is to die for, and sprinkling some seeds into a salad is never a bad idea. If I go to someones house and they serve me a normal salad, Im like, Please, if I had wanted to eat salad, I wouldve just made dinner for myself at home, but if they serve me a salad with pomegranate seeds, Im like, Oh shoot, this persons a f***ing chef!” Pomegranates, however, are really badly designed. Its like Evolution got really high one day and was like, Most fruits have a tasty flesh and inedible seeds. Lets make a fruit with an inedible flesh and delicious seeds!  

13. Blackberry

Overall Score: 64.0
Taste: 8
Consistency: 6
Versatility: 4
Easiness: 3
Popularity: 6.6

Blackberries have a delicious, unique flavor, but also a lot of minor flaws that add up. The seeds get stuck in your teeth, they’re fairly often sour, and for unexplainable reasons they’re way less versatile than the rest of the berry family.

Note: Speaking of families, the berry family is the best fruit family, followed by stone fruits, pomes, and citrus fruits (probably in that order, but it’s close), with melons trailing the pack. If you want to count tropical fruits as one family, then they clearly come in second. The berry family also excels when it comes to humans with fruit names (Halle Berry, Chuck Berry, Darryl Strawberry).

12. Tangerine/Clementine

Overall Score: 67.0
Taste: 7
Consistency: 8
Versatility: 3
Easiness: 5
Popularity: 6.8

For all you atheists out there: if there isn’t a god, then who pre-wrapped and pre-cut every clementine you eat? The ease with which the skin of a clementine separates from the inside is nothing short of a miracle.

Note: Clementines and tangerines are essentially the same. The fact that one of them sounds really cool in Michael Caine’s voice doesn’t make them different, but if you want to rank tangerines a tad higher for that reason, you have every right to do so.

11. Watermelon

Overall Score: 67.1
Taste: 8
Consistency: 5
Versatility: 4
Easiness: 2
Popularity: 8.0

In my opinion, the most overrated fruit. Sure, it’s the best melon, by far, but that’s about as meaningful as saying that Transformers is the best Transformers movie. And sure, it’s refreshing on a hot summer afternoon… VERY refreshing in fact…  but that’s because it’s 95% water. If you’re that thirsty, just drink water! Watermelon kind of tastes like nothing anyway, and often has the texture of wet sand.

Note: Watermelon is far and away the most fun fruit to slice in Fruit Ninja, so it has that going for it. Coconut is the second most fun, and after that it gets too close to call.

10. Orange

Overall Score: 67.9
Taste: 8
Consistency: 7
Versatility: 7
Easiness: 2
Popularity: 6.5

“The consistency of oranges is actual trash but they taste good once you get over the feeling of having a live fish in your mouth.” – Tate

I know what you’re thinking… Clementines are just sexier oranges! True. Oranges are annoying to peel! True. They’re literally covered in barely-edible, stringy white s***! True. But I have two words for you: Orange. Juice.

9. Pineapple

Overall Score: 69.0
Taste: 10
Consistency: 4
Versatility: 7
Easiness: 1
Popularity: 7.1

“Pineapples have caused the biggest emotional pain in my life. In addition to my parents always ordering pineapple on their pizza which always ruins the pie for me, I am extremely allergic to pine nuts. You may say that there is no relationship between pineapples and pine nuts, but there is certainly a bond going on between those two devilish foods… Trigger me timbers.” – Chris K.

Chris, you’re in the minority here. Hardly anyone thinks pineapple is bad (see below). It has some sneaky versatility points for pizza, tacos, and stir fry, and the juice is just so good.

Pineapple

8. Apple

Overall Score: 69.9
Taste: 8
Consistency: 3
Versatility: 8
Easiness: 4
Popularity: 7.3

“I feel like apples are the premiere fruit, not necessarily because of their taste, but they are ubiquitous throughout history. They’re the easiest to eat and transport, not very messy, relatively healthy.” – Charlie R.
“Apples get a 10 for variety, versatility, and virtual ubiquity.” – Mark
“A bad orange is 200 times better than a bad apple.” – Paige W.

A good apple is both convenient and delicious, but the phrase “bad apple” was coined for a reason. Apple quality is so varied that basically every time you eat an apple it turns into a conversation over whether or not that apple was “a good one.” As explained by Tal, it’s not that apple quality is normally distributed with a really high standard deviation (like peaches, for example), it’s that it’s almost uniformly distributed across the spectrum (bad apples aren’t inedible, but they’re just as frequent as decent ones). That said, apple cider donuts exist, so here we are.

Note: More than 50% of voters gave apples either a 7 or an 8 exactly, so I feel like a spot high on the list but not at the very top is appropriate.

7. Mango

Overall Score: 71.7
Taste: 8
Consistency: 7
Versatility: 7
Easiness: 2
Popularity: 7.4

“Mangoes get a 10 for the taste, which supersedes any and all flaws they might have.” – Mark

What a taste it is! Sweet, tangy, tart, and a little sour all wrapped into one. An elite yogurt and sorbet flavor as well.

6. Blueberries

Overall Score: 71.9
Taste: 6
Consistency: 8
Versatility: 7
Easiness: 5
Popularity: 7.1

Juicy, tasty, shovelable (easily their strongest attribute), and addictive. Best fruit to put in pancakes. Best type of pie.

5. Banana

Overall Score: 72.0
Taste: 4
Consistency: 10
Versatility: 9
Easiness: 5
Popularity: 6.8

A banana will never rock your world, but it will also never suck. It’s always solid. Based on the fan vote, I imagine many of you think this is a very generous ranking, but it’s literally the top ranked fruit in three of the four categories (Consistency, Versatility, Easiness to Eat).

I actually think it should be higher. Forget that it is far and away the most consumed fruit in the U.S. What other fruit’s peel tells you how ripe it is? What other food is basically the flavor and consistency of pound cake but is actually quite healthy? What other filling snack costs less than a quarter? What other food can be inserted into lunch sandwiches, ice cream sundaes, and pretty much everything in between? Banana certainly can’t go any lower as long as peanut butter and Nutella are still around.

Note: The best use of a fruit in a movie is from Beverly Hills Cop when Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley stuffs bananas up the tailpipe of a cop’s car and then gives the cops a beaming smile before driving away, knowing they can’t chase him.

4. Peach

Overall Score: 73.0
Taste: 10
Consistency: 3
Versatility: 7
Easiness: 3
Popularity: 7.7

I think a good peach might be the best fruit on the planet. It’s just so flavorful and smooth that you feel like you don’t even have enough taste buds to fully process it. Not all peaches are good, though. If you eat peaches on a regular basis, you basically have a gambling addiction. Also, shoutout to Peach Tea Snapple!

3. Grapes

Overall Score: 74.7
Taste: 7
Consistency: 8
Versatility: 6
Easiness: 5
Popularity: 7.6

If your first grape is subpar, you can just keep trying more until you get a good one. In that regard, they’re a lot like blueberries, only with a slightly higher peak. Then, of course, there’s wine, perhaps the most essential fruit-based product consumed throughout history. And don’t forget about grape jelly!

2. Raspberries

Overall Score: 80.7
Taste: 9
Consistency: 7
Versatility: 7
Easiness: 5
Popularity: 8.0

“One tough thing about raspberries is although they’re really good, they’re not a great value.” – Mike H.

There’s a reason why raspberries are still so popular despite their price. They came in second place in the fan vote (which pleasantly surprised me) as well as my personal rankings. Once you get started eating them, it takes a colossal effort not to finish the entire container.

1. Strawberries

Overall Score: 86.1
Taste: 9
Consistency: 8
Versatility: 9
Easiness: 4
Popularity: 8.6

Won the fan vote by leaps and bounds. The most universally loved and the most rarely disliked. You can eat just a few or wolf them down. Truly bad ones pretty much don’t exist. If you serve a fruit salad or platter without strawberries, what the f*** are you even doing? That they’re the best fruit for chocolate fondue is so obvious I don’t even have to provide an explanation. Strawberry ice cream. Strawberry yogurt. Strawberry smoothies. Strawberry rhubarb pie. Strawberries and whipped cream. Strawberry jam. Strawberry Gatorade. Strawberries in a side salad. They’re the total package: the LeBron James of fruit. (Except LeBron isn’t the GOAT and strawberries are the GOAT.)

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