The List: Ranking the most consistently disappointing fruits

From near-perfect peaches to the bumbling cantaloupe

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Cody Sparrow, 5, Canton, Missouri, eats a piece of watermelon, before competing the watermelon eating contest, during the 75th Montrose Watermelon Festival, Thursday Aug. 15, 2019 in Montrose, Iowa.

This is a pretty great time of year for fans of fruit (underwhelming August apples aside, for the most part), with farmers' markets and grocery stores offering an abundance of in-season options sized from puny-but-flavor-packed blueberries to gigantic watermelons.

Of course, there’s at least some risk involved with purchasing many fruits, which might look delectable from the outside but taste like absolute trash. These are the fruits we’re focused on today. 

Now, just to clarify: None of the fruits on this list are bad, per se. These are just the ones that can most often leave you wanting, or at least the ones that have the lowest batting average. Something like the red delicious apple, for example, can never disappoint, because you purchase it knowing full well that it barely qualifies as horse feed. A cantaloupe, on the other hand, has at least potential for greatness, even if you're likely to get at least a dozen duds for every perfectly ripe melon. Not great odds!

Here’s our ranking of the most consistently disappointing fruits.

Peaches

A great peach easily qualifies as a top three fruit, but you’ll get your share of mealy misses, too.

Kiwi

To be honest, I’m not sure what a truly great kiwi is supposed to taste like. Is part of the fruit’s appeal that it’s actually kind of unappealing? (Kind of like Gaspar Noe movies?)

Watermelon

Truly great watermelon is awesome, but even the watery misses tend to satisfy because at least you're getting something refreshing on a hot summer day.

Cherries

The Los Angeles Times was ahead of the curve on this one, publishing an article under the header “Tasteless Cherries, Big Bucks,” about the trend of consumers doling out high dollars for under-ripe fruits that can't match the flavor of previous generations of the fruit. Two decades later and nothing has really changed.

Plums

You strike gold with plums roughly as often as you do cherries, but a bad plum is somehow worse, with its sour taste and sometimes mushy texture. Indeed, it was a tough call on where to rank this one among the top four.

Bartlett pears

Bartlett pears might have the shortest window for ripeness of anything on this list, going from hard and flavorless to mealy mush with such speed that even avocados are telling it to slow its roll.

Honeydew

Melons are notoriously hard to gauge, especially in the COVID era, where you don’t want to be the shopper endlessly pawing at fruit or pressing it to your nose to inhale deeply. At its best, honeydew delivers a jolt of sweetness and a welcoming texture. But, if we’re being honest, that’s gotta be like 10 percent of these melons, at best. Usually what you end up with is the watery filler every middling restaurant uses as the anchor point for its disappointing side of fruit.

Cantaloupe

Regardless, I’ll still take bad honeydew over bad cantaloupe, which easily has the lowest batting average of any fruit on this list. Sure, maybe one in 15 connects, but the odds are such that this is a gamble worth shying from.