Health – Ripe and Unripe Fruits & Grains

There are some wonderful insights in the book Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss on health issues and every so often I like to review them and share with others these gems. The chapter entitled “Fruits” includes some very interesting thoughts about ripe and unripe fruits and grains which many of us have either forgotten about or never heard.


“God planned in the beginning that fruit should form a large part of our diet, and if we would practice that now, it would mean very much to our health. While it is true that fruit, like other things, has deteriorated very much since creation, yet if we would take care of it and eat it in a proper way, it would prove an untold blessing today.

“In the beginning man was told to dress the trees. This was for a wise purpose. Every tree should be pruned and dressed so that the sun will shine on the fruit at least part of the day, if not all day. If there are too many limbs and leaves, and the fruit grows altogether in the shade, it has much less food value, flavor, and life-giving properties. The seed of fruit and vegetables grown in the shade for two or three years will not germinate. It has to a great extent lost its quality and life-giving properties. Therefore all fruit trees should be pruned so that sun and air have free access. Another thing that should be remembered is that fruit before it is ripe is in the starchy state; in this condition it has but little food value, and is hard to digest. But as fruit ripens, it turns into grape sugar, especially when ripened in the air and sun, and requires practically no digestion. Fruit which is grown in the shade or is picked before it is ripe is better cooked than raw. A great deal of the fruit that is shipped is picked before it is ripe. While it does ripen to some extent after it is picked, it is never the same as it is when ripened on the tree.

“If fruit is picked before it is full grown, it is practically worthless as far as real food value is concerned, excepting, perhaps, the banana, which is a very peculiar fruit. It can be picked green and will continue to ripen and develop its sugar. It should never be eaten until every particle of green disappears, and the outer skin begins to turn brown, and the pulp has become mellow. Most bananas are eaten altogether too green, and while still in the starchy state. When the banana is fully ripe, it develops twenty-five percent of grape sugar, which requires very little or no digestion. Any infant or invalid can eat them when mashed up. … Let me emphasize again, never eat a banana until it is thoroughly ripe. [Emphasis author’s.]

“In buying prunes, buy a large size, for the large prunes have practically no larger pit than the small ones. The smaller the prunes, the less meat you have, and the more pits. A large prune when soaked overnight in cold water can be eaten without any cooking, and is very delicious. You can do the same thing with figs, apricots, or peaches when you get a good grade. When you do cook them, a very little cooking is all that is needed. Remember that the fruit before it is ripe is in the starchy state and requires cooking and digestion, and after it is thoroughly ripened it requires no cooking and little digestion. The juice is ready for assimilation.

“Unripe grains are the opposite of unripe fruits. The grain before ripe is in the milky state, or grape sugar state and could be digested without any cooking. That is the way the grain was eaten in the beginning, and no doubt that is the way the disciples and Jesus ate it. But when it ripens, it turns into starch. We have no fluid to digest raw starch properly, and therefore grains should be thoroughly cooked.”

“All the elements of nutrition are contained in the fruits, vegetables and grains.” The Review and Herald, May 8, 1883.

“However, the juice of oranges, grapes, pineapples, and grapefruit may be taken when pure with no sugar added. These juices can with good results be taken as a drink between meals to quench the thirst.

“There are several reasons why we should not drink with the meals and eat so much soft food. First, we hear so much about alkaline foods and that they are all right to be eaten, but an indisputable fact is that the saliva is highly alkaline and much more so than any of these alkaline foods. And the fact is if we eat our food dry, getting it thoroughly saturated with saliva, it alkalinizes the system more than all the alkaline foods combined that we know. And second, when the food reaches the stomach there comes the digestive juice known as the gastric juice. In order for the gastric juice to properly do its work it needs the saliva and then as the food leaves the stomach there comes the pancreatic juice and the bile. They cannot do their proper work without the saliva and the gastric juice. If many of these little points were observed, you would see a marvelous improvement in your health. And then another point is: When you take so much fluid with your meals and also the soft foods, it dilutes these various digestive fluids so they are too weak and have not the proper power to digest the food as God had planned they should. There is perfect law and order in our system, and when we violate these, we have to suffer the consequences.

“Many years ago when we made tests on these things, we found that half a good-sized lemon would destroy typhoid germs in a glass of water and the healthy gastric juice in the stomach is four times as strong as the lemon juice. …” Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss, 154–157.

This wisdom applies also to our day for many are unaware of health hazards. Praise God for His wisdom and watch care of us.