I’ve come up with a lot of weird theories in my life. When I was younger I thought locking the door helped keep the weather out. I’m still not entirely convinced it doesn’t at least help. In high school we used to wear our pajamas inside out and put toothbrushes under our pillow to summon a snow day. But one of the central theories of my adult life was something I constructed to answer the question: Why do my apples taste like onions sometimes?
I decided that it was because I kept all my produce in one crisper together, apples and onions shamelessly co-mingling with clementines and bell peppers. The apples were leeching the flavor out of the nearby vegetables, I concluded, not bothering to employ the scientific method. Since then, I’ve kept my apples quarantined from my onions, and largely forgot about my apple flavor absorption theory. Until the other day…
more evidence for my “apples absorb flavors of nearby foods” theory: just 1/4 of my apple tastes like jalapeño— it was nearby in the fridge— Julie Beck (@julieebeck) February 27, 2014
There were only one or two jalapeño-flavored bites, which must be because the wily pepper only poked a corner of my Pink Lady. My friend Lindsey responded, bringing me back to the original problem:
@julieebeck Sometimes my apples taste like onions.— Lindsey Kratochwill (@LindseyKrat) February 27, 2014
I’m finally on to something, I thought. Maybe this was my chance to stamp “Case Closed” on just one of my life’s recurring mysteries. I took to the Internet, and saw some promising links. Then I called up Kathleen Brown, a professor of plant science at Penn State, who explained to me that this is indeed a thing, and told me how it works.