Sometimes when eating an apple, I notice that the bottom (blossom) end of the apple has a lot more sweetness and flavour to it, whereas the top half (stem) is often more watery, crispier and feels less dense than the bottom part.

A quick search on the internet revealed that I'm not the only one asking this question, but answers seemed to be mainly opinions. The largest discussion I stumbled upon can be found here, but comes to no satisfying conclusion. Apparently, this phenomenon seems to occur in pears (supposedly even mentioned in a japanese saying, but the article does not provide a solution to the question) and pineapples as well.

I am looking for a more scientific explanation, as I believe that the biology of apples might be more complex than to allow a simple "sugar is denser than water and gathers at the bottom"-solution.

Do apples ripen unevenly (the blossom-end growing first, allowing it to ripen for a longer time)?

Might this phenomenon be the result of how apples meant for long-term controlled atmosphere storage are picked slightly less mature?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I was always taught that it's an example of dependent evolution. Fruit with higher concentrations of sugar at the blossom end are easier for bees to get to. $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2018 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


For whether or not your assumption is correct, I have found the following (here), which states that sweetness indeed differs, as well as pH level:

The bottom sections of ‘McIntosh’ apples were sweeter; whereas the bottom sections of ‘Jonagold’ were less crisp and more fruity. The bottom sections of both the ‘McIntosh’ and ‘Jonagold’ apples had significantly lower pH than the top.

Fruits consist of two main parts, the pericarp and the seeds. The pericarp can be further divided into the followings: exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp. In the case of apples, the one responsible for composing most part of the fruit flesh is the mesocarp, so I would like to disregard the other two. The mesocarp consists of ground tissue almost exclusively[1] and no vascular system, thus the only way for sugars to travel inside the flesh of fruit is diffusion, which is mostly determined by gravitation, hence the result.

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    $\begingroup$ I haven't find any hint in the reference about the rather surprising fact that diffusion of dissolved sugar inside an apple is determined by gravitation. $\endgroup$
    – Pere
    Dec 27, 2017 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ The reasoning behind this answer seems flawed. Why would a denser solution travel 'inside the flesh of fruit' mainly through gravity? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    May 7, 2020 at 7:25

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