Prior to human cultivation, bananas and corn had quite distinct appearances, carrots were dyed orange for political reasons, and watermelons were extremely bitter. Some of the foods that we enjoy eating today have fascinating origins and tales about how they have evolved over time.
Here we identified 13 Unique Foods facts about modern meals that you might find hard to believe after learning all about the remarkable changes they have undergone.
01. The original cucumber was toxic.
The original cucumber, often referred to as the wild cucumber, was toxic and unfit for consumption. Instead, Indians grew them and employed them in medicine. The cucumbers we eat nowadays are larger and contain a lot of water, making them suitable for a diet low in calories.
02. Eggplants had spikes and weren’t purple.
The reason the eggplant was given its name was because it briefly resembled an egg emerging out of a plant. Early eggplants were colored white, yellow, and blue, among other hues. They had various shapes, including round and oval ones, and their stems contained tiny spikes.
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03. “Poison apples” was a former nickname for tomatoes.
Some Europeans in the 1700s truly feared eating tomatoes, which they referred to as “poison apples,” since they believed that the affluent people who ate them perished as a result of their ingestion. As it turned out, lead poisoning resulted from the mix of acidic tomatoes and the lead-made pewter plates.
04. Politics led to the orange of carrots.
Carrots used to come in white and purple in past eras. Carrots were allegedly dyed orange by the Dutch for political purposes. According to the legend, Dutch farmers bred the orange-colored carrots we are familiar with as a tribute to William of Orange, a revolutionary hero. Despite the fact that this is just a supposition, the House of Orange did come to be linked to orange carrots.
05. Corn was barely edible.
Teosinte, a species of Mexican grass, provided the source of the staple food, corn. It was scarcely edible because it had fewer kernels and was difficult to extract due to its hard casing. Corn has grown to be considerably larger, easier to raise, and more palatable thanks to decades of selective breeding and domestication.
06. Bananas were seeded.
Wild bananas had huge, hard seeds inside of them. The bananas we eat today actually originated from two wild banana types, which changed over time to produce a more nutrient-dense variant with smaller seeds and superior flavor.
07. Apples were very little.
The wild apple was the predecessor of the modern apple. The fact that there were various wild apples in various shapes, sizes, and flavors on a single tree is even more astounding. Apples were domesticated and nurtured to increase their size and flavor some 4,000 years ago.
08. Avocados had a big pit and were smaller.
Smaller and with a big pit that nearly completely encircled the edible portion, wild avocados also possessed a hard shell. It was so little that you would need ten wild avocados to get the same quantity of “flesh” as one contemporary avocado!
09. Previously, peaches and cherries were of the same size.
Previously, peaches were smaller than cherries and had less flesh that was palatable. The first people to domesticate wild peaches were the ancient Chinese. Peaches grew bigger and juicier after going through thousands of years of selective breeding.
10. Watermelons have a bitter flavor.
When watermelons first arrived in Egypt 5,000 years ago, they were very little and had a very harsh taste. They also looked paler, carried more seeds, and had less red meat. Watermelons have undergone selective breeding throughout cultivation to increase the amount of their sweet, juicy red flesh and reduce the size of their rinds.
11. Originally, marshmallows were a plant.
Marshmallows were formerly a plant long before they turned into the tasty delight they are today. It wasn’t until the 1950s that marshmallow was transformed into candy and over time, it has evolved into the fluffy white delicacy we adore today. Marshmallows are members of the mallow family and grow in marshes, hence the name “marshmallow.”
12. Canning food was developed for use by the military.
Nicolas Appert responded to the French government’s request for a method to preserve food for their army and navy forces by developing the food canning technique. Place firmly sealed food in a bottle or jar. He then heated these vessels to a specific temperature and held it there for a predetermined amount of time. Until it was time to eat the food within, the containers were kept closed.
13. For good luck, the wedding cake was shattered over the bride.
Originally, wedding cakes resembled barley or wheat-based scones. They played a significant role in the wedding ceremony because the cake was cut over the bride to signify the marriage’s completion. It was thought that by doing this, the newlyweds would prosper. Later, the guests saved the cake crumbs for good luck.
Which of these food-related information and changes most shocked you? Do you know of any more foods with interesting pasts? We would like to know more!
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