Thanks to everyone who participated, we had 5 people submitting answers this month on 8 different fruits, with next to no agreement. We also got some great descriptions of flavor in this MOCA, so I will quote others as much as possible.
We had a couple of salted fruits win out in this challenge, and they were primarily citrus or acidic fruits: lemon, pineapple, orange, and kiwi. I tested the lemon and found the salted one most bearable and least sour, by far my favorite amongst the tests. The sugared lemon was sweet, but was just as sour as the plain, whereas the salted lemon tasted sweet but not sour.
Lani tested the pineapple and marked salted as her favorite, with this definitive quote “My Mother worked on the line in the Dole Pineapple Factory in Hawaii before the war. She always puts salt on her pineapple. You going to argue with your Mother?” True enough, I wouldn’t argue with my mother (or my grandmother, in that case).
Jo Romero tested the kiwi and orange. She noted that the salted variety was her favorite: she wouldn’t describe it as sweeter, but the salt did “bring out the flavor of the actual fruit a lot more.” And I love this description of that flavor, “The orange tasted more citrusy and intense and not as sharp and sour as the plain slice.”
Both Daniel K and I tried the experiment with strawberries, and our conclusions were the same- sugar was the best, salt was the worst. I’ll just quote Dan’s great descriptions of the results:
“My favorite was the sugared berries. (Likewise for my wife.) They were more intense and juicier than the plain—the juiciness was noticeable even before I allowed them to macerate. After macerating for a bit, the sugared berries had a hint of booziness. I thought the salted berries were kind of gross. (My wife thought they were inedible.)”
Annalise tested three different fruits: cantaloupe, peach, and plum. For each fruit, her blind taste tester consistently preferred the plain one, though all three varieties were reported to be tasty. So no clear winners like with the citrus fruits, and no clear losers like with the berries.
Here’s what the results look like so far. If you are using citrus or acidic fruit, you might want to consider adding salt to enhance the flavor. If using berries, avoid salt like the plague. Other fruits: doesn’t seem to make a huge difference, but I think more experiments are needed.
So what’s the salt doing to some fruits but not others? Well, I’m going to leave that question unanswered, but I think Kevin Liu might have something to say about that next Wednesday, so stay tuned. In the meantime, please hazard educated guesses, wild extrapolations, and reasonable arguments in the comment box below. Or, do the MOCA yourself with a fruit that hasn’t been tested here!