This applies to all fruit, without exception, and includes also the pellicle or skin of kernels and nuts of all kinds. The edible part of fruit is particularly delicate, and liable to rapid decomposition if exposed to the atmosphere ; it is, therefore, a provision of nature to place a strong and impervious coating over it, as a protection against accident, and to prevent insect enemies from destroying the seed within. The skin of all the plum tribe is wonderfully strong, compared with its substance, and resists the action of water and many solvents in a remarkable manner. If not thoroughly masticated before taken into the stomach, the rind of plums is rarely, if ever, dissolved by the gastric juice. In some cases, pieces of it adhere to the coats of the stomach, the same as wet paper clings to anything, causing sickness and other inconvenience. Dried raisins and currants are particularly included in these remarks, showing the best reasons for placing the fruit upon the chopping-board with the suet in making a pudding of them ; for if a dried currant passes into the stomach whole, it is never digested at all. When horses eat oats or beans that have not been through a crushing-mill, much of this food is swallowed whole, and in this state, being perfectly indigestible, the husk or pellicle resisting the power of the stomach, there is so much loss to nutrition. Birds, being destitute of teeth, are provided with the apparatus for grinding their seed, namely, the gizzard, through which the seed passes, and is crushed prior to digestion. The peelings of apples and pears should always be cast away. Oranges we need not mention, as this is always done. Orleans, greengages, damsons, and all plums, should be carefully skinned if eaten raw, and if put into tarts, they should be crushed before cooking. Nuts are as indigestible as we could desire, if the brown kin be not removed or blanched, as almonds are generally treated. SEPTIMUS PIESSE.
This article was originally published with the title "The Rind of Fruit Indigestible"