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Summertime Food Myth Busting

If you grew up thinking you’d grow a watermelon in your stomach if you swallowed the seeds, you’re not alone! Scroll through to find out if the other summertime eating myths you were told as a kid are fact or fiction.  

Fact or Fiction: You have to refrigerate tomatoes and stone fruit. 

Fiction! In fact, they’re more than fine when chilling on the counter since cooler temps can cause the texture of stone fruits and tomatoes to become mealy. Stone fruits, among other fruits and veggies, tend to be juicier and even sweeter when stored at room temp. That said, storing produce is easier said than done—explanation below…

Fact or Fiction: You can store apples, oranges, etc. on the counter

Fact, but there’s a catch. Neither apples nor citrus need to be refrigerated, but think twice before tossing them in the same basket, colander, or bowl on the counter. Apples are among certain fruits and veggies that naturally emit ethylene gas as they ripen, which can cause ethylene-sensitive items, like oranges, to ripen at a faster rate. Apples are a unique case in that they’re also ethylene sensitive, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep a safe distance between these two to lengthen their life.

Fact or Fiction: If it’s frozen, food can last a really long time.

It depends on your definition of “a really long time.” While certain foods actually last well beyond their Best By dates, you can also freeze those awkward last bits of diced onion or de-cobbed corn for future use rather than tossing them. Bear in mind, though, the recommended window of time you have to use it up—depending on the food, the span of a stay in the freezer can range from one month up to one year.

Fact or Fiction: You can’t eat carrot tops, fennel fronds, or corn husks. 

Fiction! You can, in fact, eat all of the above, as well as other parts of fruits and veggies that are often overlooked or mistaken for not being usable. Aside from doubling down on food waste, an added bonus of pickling melon rinds or using corn husks as enchilada wraps means your trash or compost bin won’t fill up quite as quickly. 

Keep reading: Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Chimichurri

Fact or Fiction: You can compost my lemons and limes

Fact, but sparingly. Due to their acidic peels, lemons and limes are compostable in moderation. Add ’em too frequently and your compost pile is at risk of becoming too acidic, which can slow decomposition and increase those not-so-pleasant fragrances. (The same goes for grapefruit peels, though oranges of all varieties can be composted freely.)

Fact or Fiction: You have to wait 30 mins to an hour after eating before you swim.

Not quite! Many of us carry this cautionary belief we were told as children into adulthood, but science suggests that there’s really no science to justify the claim either way. While you may get a cramp or two if you wade back in ten minutes after enjoying a lakeside lunch, even that’s not fully guaranteed. Consider this your permission to jump right back in.

Keep reading: 54 No-Cook, Low-Cook, No-Oven-Needed Recipes

Fact or Fiction: You shouldn’t swallow watermelon seeds.

Fiction. While some of us don’t find the crunch of a dark watermelon seed all that appealing, swallowing a seed (or few) isn’t cause for panic. Leave it to your stomach acids to digest those seeds long before a watermelon can sprout up inside you.

Keep reading: Watermelon, Radish, and Wheat Berry Salad with Pickled Onions