What cool things can you do with fruit?
September 8, 2010 5:53 PM   Subscribe

Weird or interesting things you can do with fruit? I'm looking for a list of fun/scientific/cool/interesting things you can do with fruit, any fruit...

As an example, you can squirt orange juice straight from the peel and set it on fire. Lemon juice will lighten hair. Pumpkin or watermelon carvings. Apple bongs. Potato/fruit cannons or guns. You get the idea...
posted by Jubey to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
If you cut a grape almost in half (i.e. so that a tiny bridge of skin is left between the halves), then microwave it, you'll get a pretty little light show.

Fruit-powered clock (or fruit-powered anything that needs a very low current power source)

Carbonated grapes: 1. Fill a 1 liter bottle with grapes. 2. Put in a SMALL piece of dry ice (too much and it's a bomb - don't fuck that step up) 3. Close the bottle 4. Wait until the dry ice has sublimed, then wait a couple hours. 5. Cut open the bottle and eat. Fizzy grapes!!!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:00 PM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Lemon battery
posted by jamaro at 6:00 PM on September 8, 2010

Potato clocks (you can make these without a commercial kit...) can also run on some citrus and other fruit.
posted by brainmouse at 6:00 PM on September 8, 2010

Lemon juice can also be used as invisible ink.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:00 PM on September 8, 2010

Fruit as a battery is always fun. This DNA experiment uses kiwi fruit (link might go to the home page, just drop down the list under 'green stuff').
posted by shinybaum at 6:03 PM on September 8, 2010

Are you open to cool things you can do with vegetables? I've always loved making cabbage pH paper.
posted by brainmouse at 6:10 PM on September 8, 2010

Only if it can be replicated with fruit eg you can carve a watermelon in the same way as a pumpkin. Keep 'em coming, these are great!
posted by Jubey at 6:12 PM on September 8, 2010

Vegetable orchestra (includes pumpkins).
posted by rabidsegue at 6:17 PM on September 8, 2010

You can make one-ingredient ice cream using only bananas.
posted by phunniemee at 6:17 PM on September 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

Little fruit people.
posted by analog at 6:41 PM on September 8, 2010

My art history professor made a model of the Hagia Sophia out of cantaloupe and grape fruit in the middle of his lecture. I'll never forget that class.
posted by Sukey Says at 6:51 PM on September 8, 2010

Lemon pig. Slice a banana before it's peeled. Shrunken head apples. Popular Mechanics offers some Easy Tricks with Fruit from 1928.
posted by jessamyn at 6:51 PM on September 8, 2010

Cut a banana in half. Stick in a wooden stick so that the banana looks like a hammer. Immerse said banana hammer in liquid nitrogen until it is good and solid. Pound a nail with your new hammer!
posted by rockindata at 6:54 PM on September 8, 2010

Fruit printmaking. If you use firmer things such as an apple or a potato* you can carve designs into them and use them as stamps.

*not a fruit. This is a potato's fruit. The gardener in me just can't let it go.
posted by jamaro at 6:58 PM on September 8, 2010

Grow a square tomato.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:03 PM on September 8, 2010

shrunken apple heads
posted by aetg at 7:11 PM on September 8, 2010

Make a helmet for your cat.
posted by amyms at 7:39 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Watermelon teeth. Carve the peel into a beautiful new set of chompers.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:47 PM on September 8, 2010

Grape racing!
posted by bondcliff at 7:52 PM on September 8, 2010

Make tuna out of watermelon.
posted by srrh at 8:05 PM on September 8, 2010

You might find a few more ideas in this previous thread.
posted by Orinda at 8:16 PM on September 8, 2010

I'm not sure if this qualifies, but you can slice a banana before peeling it.
posted by bunglin jones at 8:19 PM on September 8, 2010

Cut an apple in half along the equator. Open it up and see the star inside. This will sometimes charm small children.
posted by marsha56 at 9:46 PM on September 8, 2010

orange boy!
posted by palacewalls at 10:10 PM on September 8, 2010

Make yourself some grape plasma.
posted by nat at 11:10 PM on September 8, 2010

All of these were great, I just marked the ones I didn't already have that were especially trippy. Thanks, and feel free to add more if you think of any.
posted by Jubey at 12:08 AM on September 9, 2010

Almost any botanical source of red or blue can be fiddled with with vinegar or dissolved baking soda to change from one or the other.

This article (the paper form already linked by brainmouse - my link is about liquids) uses red cabbage, but you could probably do similar things with blood oranges or apple skins or (this I'm not sure of) dragon fruit skins.

It's important to note that you can not only do pH tests on paper but also in liquids, and I want to talk about that a little because if you use liquids, you can experiment with a lot more sources - you don't have to just use already fairly liquid plants.

Say you have a blood orange and you want to experiment with the pigment in its skin. (I'd recommend the skin because even though the juice can be red, it's also pretty acid, so it could take some doing to get the juice basic or even neutral.)

Get mortar and pestle and first try it with water. Add a little water to the zest you take from a red area, grind the skin with the water, see if you get red. Likely you'll get some but not a lot because the skin is oily.

So try it with rubbing alcohol instead. You'll probably get a bit more red this way. Alcohol is tolerably pH neutral, so you can start fiddling that solution with dissolved baking soda and diluted vinegar drop by drop until you induce a color change (I'd go with the soda, since blue is more basic).

The other thing you can do (this time with paper) and not pH-related but chromatography related is paper chromatography. Chromatography is based on the idea that different sizes/shapes of biological molecules travel by osmosis or capillary action (these are two separate effects, not synonyms) through media (the paper) at different velocities.

Cut a relatively porous paper into long strips (coffee filters are probably best, but paper towels will do). Get a pigmented (any color, not just red or green) plant juice or extract that you want to know the component colors for. Usually the juice or extract is water-based or alcohol-based at home, which is fine. Paper doesn't dissolve in either of those liquids, at least not without agitation as well, and chromatography doesn't use agitation, just osmosis/capillary action.

Set up the paper strips so that they either are suspended above the liquid (by hanging) or they drape over the side of a bowl or along a glass or other very smooth non-reactive surface. You want to avoid irregular surfaces that might draw water off the paper. Put one end of the paper in the juice or extract. Wait for the water line to move up or along the paper to the dry end. This can take about 15-30 minutes, but depending on how geeky you are, this can be fascinating. As soon as the water line is far enough away from the juice/extract you should start seeing bands of different colors in the paper.

Each of these bands is a group of molecules with similar velocities, which usually means they have similar physical properties. If you had the wherewithal to do more complex analyses, you could even take the paper out of the solution and let it dry, then cut the strips up to different color bands, re-extract the biological compounds from each band and identify them. But at home you'd probably just stop at looking at the separated bands and talking about them.

posted by kalessin at 6:20 AM on September 9, 2010

P.S. here's an about.com description of paper chromatography with candy.
posted by kalessin at 6:23 AM on September 9, 2010

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