Thousands of years—that’s how old the concept of a fruit bowl is. In Pompeiian frescoes and the Met’s collections (and many places in between), you’ll find evidence of the delightfully basic vessel’s time-honored place in our kitchens. When something’s been around so long, though, why tweak it? We’ll let you in on a secret: Your beloved fruit bowl could be better. We’re talking way, way better. And with a little help from designer Myles Geyman, our Product Development team set out to make it so.
First, if you’ll permit the indulgence, allow us to set the scene. It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and you’ve just hit the farmer’s market in search of your favorite summer fruits (hey, it’s February—we can dream): peaches, cherries, plums, and nectarines. You arrive home with your tasty, tasty spoils, plop them all in your favorite fruit bowl, and wait for each to achieve maximum ripeness. But you’re foiled when one of your peaches turns mushy, unleashing a sea of sticky peach slop, and when you attempt to lift your spirits, you reach for a plum—only to find it’s neither soft nor sweet! If only you had some way of organizing your fruits, pushing the tough, unripe ones along, and keeping such disappointment at bay…
“Ethylene gas plays a key role in fruit ripening,” Myles told us. “This is a gas that some fruits produce as a part of the ripening process, and as such, having a covered bowl that traps a small amount of ethylene, while still allowing for ventilation, helps contribute to accelerating the ripening process.” Equipped with a covered, lightly ventilated bowl, a wooden tray, and a hook for your bananas—ethylene powerhouses, in case you didn’t know—the Just Ripe Fruit Bowl is designed to keep ripe and unripe fruits out of each other’s ways. While ready-to-eat specimens rest atop the tray, poised to be plucked by your hungry fingertips, those that still need a bit of time sit below in the covered bowl, which traps ethylene to help fruit ripen more efficiently. Sounds like an improvement on your old favorite fruit bowl, right? We thought so. No more peach slop!
Next question: How’d we arrive at this design? At the risk of sounding a little too punny, it wasn’t quite easy as apple pie. “We worked through a number of interesting designs that each had advantages and disadvantages,” said Myles. “We considered designs that included ceramic bowls with wire baskets, wood bowls with ceramic trays, and other complementary material combinations. There were ideas that involved soft goods like waxed canvas and even wall hanging configurations that were interesting but less practical than the final design.” Candidates included apple- and avocado-shaped vessels, wall-mounted bags, and porcelain trays that looked like unfolded bits of origami.
Ultimately, practicality reigned, and our team settled on a look that’s both sleek and effective. “It can be a challenge to balance both the creative and production sides of the design equation,” Myles noted. “[But] the UncommonGoods design team allowed for a lot of freedom to explore a wide variety of forms and materials, which is always liberating.” When we asked Myles what makes the Just Ripe Fruit Bowl so cool in his eyes, he gave a great answer: “It is cool because—science is cool. There are not very many products on the market that consider this process in their design,” he continued. But he’s right—the science of ripening is indeed pretty cool.
Tiffany Jyang, UG’s own Senior Product Developer, offered her perspective, too. “We all have our own fruit storage solutions at home,” she told us. “Some of us are more organized, and some of us use whatever bowls or colanders happen to be empty at the time. It creates kitchen chaos, and half the time your fruit goes bad because you’ve forgotten what’s even there.” The Just Ripe Fruit Bowl is “a smart, imaginative, and artful way to improve fruit storage (and maybe even reduce food waste). … Between the PD team’s collective product insights and Myles’ invaluable design expertise, we ended up creating something really smart and clever and surprising.”
And so, for those of us whose fruit-filled feasts have been thwarted by things gone bad (or things not-yet-good), the Just Ripe Fruit Bowl poses an intriguing solution with a look sure to kickstart conversations. Give ripening fruits a gentle push into “just right” territory with a covered hideaway; hang bananas to keep them bruise-free; and treat your ready-to-eat apples, oranges, and more to their own easily accessible chunk of real estate—because you’ve earned the right to eat your fruits the way nature intended. (Now get to snacking.)