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Why do my fruits and veggies taste so funny?


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I started noticing this really odd taste a few months ago. I bought some red bell peppers and they had this taste and smell to them. I really don't know how to describe it except that it tastes as if it has been near REALLY REALLY RANCID veggies, but it is more of a chemical taste, very strange... The pepper was bright and crisp... but smells almost like a gas that rotten produce would put off if it was left to rot. Maybe the way fruit would smell if you were trying to produce alcohol??? I dunno. But I have bought strawberries and tomatoes on the vine with the same smell/taste of the red bell pepper. I can not eat them. Once I notice the odor or taste I have to throw them away.

Does anyone know what I am talking about?

Edited Dec 02 2013 20:30 by coach_k
Reason: locked to prevent unneccesary zombie and/or spam bumps
34 Replies (last)

Ladies - I can solve the mystery for you regarding the MILDEW taste and smell accompanying fruits and vegetables of late. I have been studying this issue for some time now, and have ultimately determined that the problem lies in the humid dark cold mildew conducive storage areas that these fruits and vegetables are subjected to for long periods of time. I made a discovery at a nearby Costco recently - The cold storage for the fruits and vegetables at the back of the store had the same terrible mildew smell that the bananas contained after smelling. I have experienced the same problem with bell peppers that you are referring to, as well as apples and red potatoes, and I can assure you that I am getting fed up with this problem. I have begun smelling and sampling everything before I buy. Occasionally I can find good bananas, but it is always a struggle now.  Apparently the procedure or maintenance for storage for these items has changed in recent years and I do not necessarily believe that the problem lies in local storage at supermarkets, but more than likely it stems from the distributor, because I recently purchased pears at a local supermarket that were great, but the Gala apples I let get by me - The taste was so bad that they were not edible - Same store! IT IS MILDEW, and this problem needs to be addressed...

I knew I was not crazy!!! I am sick of it too. And now when I get a bad batch of produce that "slips" by and I buy... I take it back and get my refund. I felt bad and cheap at first... BUT produce is so expensive and I am not willing to just throw it away anymore.

Thank you Atinelle... I appreciate your comment.

Roxie, I have had the same problems with red bell peppers, but I don't think the smell and taste is anything like mildew which is a very specific and identifiable smell.  This reminds me more of a chemical smell.  Almost like the pepper is made of some synthetic material.  I do not notice the smell until I cut into it so sniffing it out in the store wouldn't help.  Cooking doesn't help alter the smell.  I bought the peppers at Costco.  They were in a cellophane bag and were imported from The Netherlands.  I tried them once again thinking the first batch (I threw them out) was a fluke, but the next batch had the same odd smell.  Since then, I have been buying them from an Asian specialty store.  They are smaller and less bright red, but they smell and taste like they should.  They are much cheaper than the ones in the supermarket too.  Only 99 cents/lb, vs $3.00 a piece in the grocery store.  I think the best explanation is what was mentioned earlier-- some sort of ripening gas.  So, no, it's not just you.

#24  
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I have noticed a strange chemical smell and taste in fresh strawberries.  I doubt that is caused by ripening, as the container was well ventilated.  I checked to see where the berries came from---California.  Today I received an email from Food Democracy Now which informed me that California uses a toxic pesticide, Methyl Iodide, to treat its strawberry crops (the use of this chemical on strawberries is banned in New York and Washington.)  I wash my fruit very carefully and the possibility of this chemical in my strawberries is unnerving, to say the least.  Whatever the cause, strawberries are just another example of the sorry quality of the fruits and vegetables that are supplied in the supermarket (anyone noticed that the skins on apples have been abnormally thick this year?)

YES! Weird thick skin on apples! What is up with that!?!? I am so glad I am not the only one noticing this stuff! Smile

ive been thinking the same thing...last week my strawberries tasted like a rubber chemical like flaver...cant describe it....to day it was my potatoes....what is going on?

ROXIEGIRL....ITS NOT YOU!!! THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG...IM GOING TO CALL THE HEB TOMORROW TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON...I DONT WANT AN EXCHANGE EITHER....I WANT OUR MONEY BACK....I DONT WANT TO GET SICK....BESIDES I HAVE BEEN GETTING THE SAME FLAVOR FROM STRAWBERRIES...POTATOES AND WHATEVER ELSE...I THINK IT COULD BE COMING FROM THE STORE OFF F.M. 78 OR THE HEB WAREHOUSE BY RITTIMAN RD.

EITHER WAY, IT TASTES HORRIBLE...MY DINNER WAS RUINED TONIGHT...IM PRETTY TICKED. IF IT HAPPENED ONCE, MAYBE JUST A BAD BATCH OF FRUIT...BUT ALL THE VEGETABLES AND FRUIT HAVE A CHEMICAL OR PLASTIC RESIDUE ON OR IN THEM...I WASH EVERYTHING SO I BELIEVE ITS INSIDE TOO. PLEASE WRITE BACK.

       &nb sp;               &nb sp;               &nb sp;               &nb sp;               &nb sp;               &nb sp;          PATRICK H. SANCHEZ

OMG CAPSLOCK BRAINZ!

#29  
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I also can't stand the smell of red peppers which have been in the fridge for a few days. They smell and taste awful, really bad. However my husband can't smell it and thinks I am mad. Has anyone found a definitive reason for the awful smell? I don't find the smell on any other coloured bell peppers either which is weird.

Check your cutting board that you're using.  Whether its wood or plastic, the grooves made by knives could hold bacteria which could have a very negative effect on the food you cut on it.  That could be the reason why your foods have nasty taste.  They need to be bleached every now and then or replaced altogether.  We usually have 4 or 5 boards and use them for specific food items.  Probably should have one specifically used for chicken, pork, and other raw meats.  Have a separate one for fruits and one for veggies. 

#31  
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it's not my chopping boards, the smell is there when I take the peppers out of the fridge. I can smell it on fruit in the suoermarket too, although some red peperrs smell fine. It seems to be once they have been in my fridge for a couple of days so I do think it's something to do with the ripening process. The smell is terrible..like excrement, even when cooked I can taste it. But the other coloured peppers never seem to get the smell so I don't know what is going on with the red ones. Unlike other earlier posts I never experience this with other fruits or vegetables

OK I have had this problem a few years ago with my home grown peppers. I don't know what it is but I think its a lack of water in the growing of them. My home growns this year were much more watered and tasted much better. Maybe a side effect of the drought in the US?

Also I have noticed a funny smell on some peppers that look fine but have little tiny blue-ish spots inside them - mould. Moulds make funny smells too.

I agree with those that mentioned pesticides as the culprit. The foods that were mentioned many times - strawberries, potatoes, red bell peppers, apples - are all on the "dirty dozen" list of conventional foods you should avoid if at all possible because of the high levels of pesticides that are found on the foods. In many of the foods, no amount of washing will remove the pesticides, as it is absorbed into the flesh of the fruit. The best thing to do is to buy these foods organic only, or grow your own. I found this post/question because I just started cutting up a red bell pepper and found the same smell. I usually buy organic when possible, but this time I did not since they were such a reasonable price, and lovely, at Costco. Sounds like others have had the same problem there. Never again!

#34  
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If these are all "home grown" vegetables, get rid of your Fennel. It cross-pollinates, and makes EVERYTHING taste funny!

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