I was wondering if there is a word or phrase for the central part of the fruit that you eat. You don't eat the core of the apple. And you eat the centers of bananas and oranges but not the peel. I tried Googling and searching on this site but to no avail.
Anatomically, many fruits consist of two primary layers: the pericarp and the seed. The pericarp is tissue that derives directly from ovary of a flower. It consists of three sub-layers:
- Epicarp: the outermost layer of a fruit; forms a tougher "skin" around the fruit
- Mesocarp: the middle layer of a fruit, found between the epicarp and the endocarp; usually (but not always) the fleshy part that is consumed
- Endocarp: the inner layer of a fruit that directly surrounds the seeds
Additionally, accessory fruits have fleshy tissue not derived from the ovary but from other parts of a flower.
Source: Wikipedia, "Fruit Anatomy"
Depending on the type of fruit, different layers may be physically "fleshy" and eaten. Here are some general guidelines:
- In pomes, such as apples, the majority of the flesh is not part of the pericarp (it is not derived from the ovary) but rather is "accessory tissue." The entire pericarp forms the core. (So, the epicarp is not the skin, as one might expect; it is encased inside the accessory tissue.)
- In drupes, such as peaches, the majority of the flesh is the mesocarp. The epicarp forms the skin. The endocarp forms the pit, which surrounds the seed.
- Berries vary depending on whether they are botanical berries or not, and by what type of berries they are. For example, blueberries and grapes (botanical berries) are eaten in their entirety.
- In contrast, strawberries are not botanical berries; they are accessory fruits like apples, so the flesh is accessory tissue. Each "seed" on the strawberry is called an achene, which is like a miniature fruit including both pericarp and a single seed that fills most of the volume.
- In hesperidium (a modified berry), which are citrus, the epicarp forms the peel, the mesocarp forms the pith, and the endocarp forms the juicy flesh that is eaten.
- From what I can find on bananas (also botanical berries), the epicarp forms the peel, while the mesocarp and endocarp form the flesh that is eaten.